Paul Manafort is on trial for tax evasion, and after the federal government’s star witness, Rick Gates, completed up his second day of blistering testimony, Manafort’s lawyer pantsed him on cross-examination.
For those who take the macro view, all the things that has occurred thus far is solely customary and regular. The federal government presents numerous documentary proof as to how the scheme labored. The federal government brings out a witness, a co-conspirator who copped a plea in alternate for his testimony. The protection questions the credibility of this witness, claiming they know a lot as a result of they have been the wrong-doer, and is now mendacity concerning the defendant to save lots of their very own pores and skin. All the pieces is continuing precisely as deliberate, by each side.
However on the micro degree… Jesus Christ, the place is the popcorn. The Gates testimony has been like a Regulation & Order episode if Regulation & Order have been dissolved right into a liquid and injected straight into your veins.
Yesterday, Gates admitted to serving to Manafort embezzle cash to keep away from taxes. At the moment, it was extra of the identical, together with admissions that he helped Manafort report revenue as “loans” to keep away from tax legal responsibility.
However, close to the tip of his testimony, Gates gave the individuals who actually don’t care whether or not or not Manafort evaded revenue taxes one thing they wished to listen to. From the Washington Post:
A few of the solely direct references to President Trump and his marketing campaign on the trial of Paul Manafort simply occurred. Rick Gates testified that Manafort resigned because the marketing campaign’s chairman in August 2016, however that he remained, persevering with to work for the marketing campaign.
After Trump’s election, Gates went to work for the committee organizing Trump’s inauguration.
Prosecutor Greg Andres confirmed Gates emails from Manafort, which confirmed that Gates’s former boss requested that Gates use his place within the Trump marketing campaign to supply a collection of favors to Stephen Calk, the founder and CEO of Federal Financial savings Financial institution, one of many banks that prolonged Manafort a mortgage in 2016.
The Manafort trial doesn’t actually have something to do with Donald Trump… past the already apparent level that Trump employed a compromised marketing campaign supervisor with deep ties to Russian pursuits. If there was direct, understanding collusion between the Trump marketing campaign and the Russian authorities, Manafort would have been the conduit.
However this trial will do extra to indicate that Manafort had the motive and alternative to align the Trump marketing campaign with the Russians, not that he did it. Like all the things else, Gates’s testimony about his time engaged on the transition speaks to Manafort’s desperation greater than Trump’s intentions.
And that’s provided that you consider Gates. Manafort’s lead legal professional, Kevin Downing, received his likelihood to cross-examine Gates this afternoon and, as anticipated, Downing makes Gates appear like a mendacity, shady rat.
“When did you begin offering false and deceptive info to the particular counsel’s workplace?” he requested.
Gates pleaded responsible in Washington, D.C. federal court docket to doing simply that. However as he did earlier, appeared to waver on whether or not he truly lied or just misspoke a couple of assembly Manafort took with a U.S. congressman.
“There have been situations once I struggled in interviews” with particulars, he mentioned. “I struggled to get all the knowledge out, to some extent.”…
“You knowingly and deliberately lied?” Downing requested.
“Uh…. sure,” Gates lastly mentioned. However he mentioned, “I offered false info to the particular counsel’s workplace previous to my plea settlement,” not after. In his many periods making ready for trial, he mentioned, he instructed the reality.
That was simply the appetizer. Downing subsequent busted Gates for stealing cash from Manafort to hold on an extramarital affair:
Earlier than even being requested the query straight, Gates, in a quiet strained voice, instructed Downing that it was true–he mentioned about 10 years in the past, he had “one other relationship.” In different phrases, he had had an extramarital affair…
Gates testified that he had used cash embezzled from Manafort to assist fund his relationship. Downing requested him to agree that he had spent as a lot as $three million on this goal. Gates mentioned he believed the determine was decrease, however, once more, agreed that he had certainly taken cash from Manafort with out his permission.
The federal government has a bunch of different witnesses and a great deal of documentary proof. You don’t must consider that Rick Gates is an efficient man to consider what he says, and also you don’t even really want to consider Rick Gates to consider that Manafort is responsible.
Nevertheless it solely takes one juror to hold a jury. And if anyone decides that that is all a Trump “witch hunt,” or that Gates dedicated the entire fraud himself, that may be sufficient for Manafort to wiggle free.
Within the meantime, I’m cooking up some ostrich steaks that go properly with this Shiraz whereas I watch the present.