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Tag: rick gates

Jury to Deliberate on Fate of Manafort After Closing Arguments Today in 10-Day Trial

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lawyers rested their case in the two-week fraud trial, presenting no evidence and calling no witnesses Tuesday.

Today, both sides will deliver closing arguments that summarize the 10 days of testimony in the first trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia.

This jacket was among many pieces of clothing used to show Manafort’s lavish lifestyle.

Then, the fate of the 69-year-old Republican operative will land in the hands of a jury, who will determine whether Manafort is guilty of bank and tax fraud. A conviction could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

During closing arguments, prosecutors will try to convince the jury that Manafort hid millions of dollars he made lobbying for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party in foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes. They’ll also point to evidence that he received millions of dollars in loans by hiding his true income after he lost his consulting job.

The prosecution said Manafort was motivated by financing an extravagant lifestyle that included lavish clothes and six homes.

His defense team likely will place blame on people who testified against Manafort and admitted wrongdoing, including his former business partner Rick Gates.

No matter what verdict the jury hands down, Manafort’s troubles are far from over. He faces a second criminal trial in a case that alleges lobbying crimes and money laundering.

Manafort has refused to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for more information that could reveal more about Trump and his campaign’s role in working with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

A lot is at stake for Mueller, who continues to be attacked by Trump as heading a politically connected “witch hunt.” The lack of a conviction during Mueller’s first trial would surely be used by Trump to continue to undermine the special counsel, the FBI and Justice Department.

But a conviction would give the president less ammunition to continue undermining the credibility of the investigation, which began in May 2017 after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

Gates Told Feds about Manafort’s Foreign Bank Accounts Long Before Mueller’s Probe

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Before longtime business partners Paul Manafort and Rick Gates began running Donald Trump’s campaign for president, Gates revealed to the FBI that their consulting firm had foreign bank accounts.

The disclosure by Gates, made public during the Manafort trial this week, is a big deal because the foreign bank accounts became the impetus for investigating and eventually charging the pair with bank and tax fraud.

Gates told the jury that federal law enforcement in was investigating money the pair made working for Russian-friendly Ukrainian officials. He said Manafort told him to be truthful before Gates made the disclosure in 2014.

At the time, federal authorities didn’t have enough evidence to force the pair to disclose their financial records, which eventually were obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and used as key evidence in charging both men.

Earlier this year, Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors to cooperate with them as they took their case to trial. The government is expected to rest its case in the Manafort trial by Friday.

Prosecutors allege millions of dollars were deposited into the accounts so Manafort wouldn’t be taxed on money he was making from consulting work in Ukraine.

Gates Testifies He Helped Manafort Violate Bank, Tax Fraud

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Paul Gates, a former campaign aide to President Trump, testified Monday that he helped his former business partner, Paul Manafort, commit bank and tax fraud.

At Manafort’s tax and bank fraud trial, Gates said he helped Manafort file false tax returns to conceal millions of dollars kept in foreign bank accounts.

Gates was testifying as part of a plea deal with special prosecutors, providing strong evidence against Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s campaign.

If convicted, Manafort could spend the rest of his life behind bars on 18 counts of tax fraud and banking crimes.

Gates also testified that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort.

During his testimony, Gates told prosecutors he helped Manafort violate the law by falsifying and doctoring documents and concealing tens of millions of dollars in foreign banks to avoid pay taxes on the income.

Today, Gates is expected to face tough questions from defense attorneys who have been trying to chip away at his credibility.

From Riches to Rags: Manafort’s Lavish Lifestyle Takes Center Stage at Criminal Trial

House of Bijan, where Paul Manafort liked to shop.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Before Paul Manafort began leading the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, the Republican political operative lived an extravagant lifestyle, spending more than $1 million on lavish clothes between 2010 and 2014, more than $6 million on seven homes, $820,000 to manicure the lawns, a $21,000 black titanium and crystal watch and a $15,000 ostrich jacket. 

During the second day of the criminal trial Wednesday, prosecutors said Manafort financed his lifestyle by using wire transfers from secret offshore accounts to dodge taxes and lying to banks about his income to acquire loans.

Paul Manafort jail mugshot.

The high-priced consultant accumulated the wealth working for government officials in Ukraine.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating Russian interference during the presidential election, charged Manafort with 18 criminal counts, including tax evasion, bank fraud and conspiracy. If convicted, the 69-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A manager and CFO at luxury retailer Alan Couture and the exclusive menswear retailer House of Bijan testified, describing Manafort’s pricey spending habits that included tailored pin-stripe suits, neckwear and jackets.

The defense sought to undermine government witness Paul Gates, a former business partner of Manafort’s, saying Gates often made the payments to buy the luxury items. for Manafort.

Gates cut a plea deal with prosecutors to provide information about Manafort’s expenses.

Mueller Confirms Manafort Raid Targeted Records on Trump Tower Meeting, Russian Oligarch

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When FBI agents raided the home of Paul Manafort, the former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, last summer, a judge signed off on seizing records related to a previously undisclosed meeting between the campaign and Russian lobbyists at the Trump Tower in June 2016.

Agents walked out with tens of thousands of records, including documents related to a civil lawsuit over a drawn-out dispute with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Bloomberg reports.

The scope of the search was revealed Monday in a court filing by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team that is investigating possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The disclosure is significant because it means Mueller is focusing on a potential collusion case against members of Trump’s campaign.

Deripaska, who is believed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, hired Manafort as a political consultant and invested $18.9 million with Manafort’s cable-television venture. Deripaska, the billionaire founder and majority shareholder of En+ Group, also paid Manafort $7.35 million in management fees.

When the deal went sour, Deripaska sued.

Deripaska was among the Russians penalized with sanctions last month by the Trump administration.

Manafort, who faces trial on numerous charges related to conspiracy and fraud in connection with his business relationship with pro-Russia, Ukrainian officials. Manafort has pleaded not guilty, while his longtime business partner has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as part of a leniency deal in exchange for pleading guilty to some charges.

Memo Reveals Scope of Mueller’s Investigation Against Trump’s ex-Campaign manager Manafort

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was explicitly authorized by the Justice Department to investigate allegations that President Trump’s former campaign manager colluded with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election, according to a newly revealed memo.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave Mueller the green light in a classified, Aug. 2 memo that was included in a court filing Monday aimed at defending the special counsel’s scope of the probe, which so far has netted indictments against 19 people and three Russian companies. 

The memo authorized Mueller to look into allegations that the former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked with the Kremlin to meddle in the election “in violation of United States law.” The memo authorized Mueller to look into “a crime or crimes arising out of payments [Manafort] received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych.”

Manafort and his business partner, another former Trump campaign aide, were first indicted in October with money-laundering and other charges related to work they did for a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine. They were charged with additional crimes earlier this year, and Gates has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Dutch Attorney to Become First Person Sentenced in Russia Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Dutch attorney accused of lying to federal law enforcement about his work with two indicted, former leaders of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is expected to become the first person today to be sentenced as part of the 11-month-old special counsel investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and the FBI about the Russia probe, faces an estimated zero to six months in jail, according to sentencing guidelines.

Mueller’s team plans to urge a judge to impose jail time. But prosecutors didn’t indicate how much time van der Zwaan should be sent to jail, but the attorney is asking for no time behind bars because his wife, who lives in London, is pregnant and due to deliver their child in August.

“To the extent the Court seeks to take into account the circumstances of van der Zwaan’s wife’s pregnancy, consideration of that circumstance would not preclude a term of incarceration,” the special counsel’s office wrote. “In any event, a sentence that ensured van der Zwaan’s return to the United Kingdom for the birth of his child in August 2018 would be within the recommended Guidelines’ range.”

Van der Zwaan admitted he lied to prosecutors and the FBI about work he did with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former business partner, Rick Gates, who also played a key role in the president’s campaign.

Four others who have pleaded guilty so far – including former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. But their sentencing hearings have been placed on hold while they cooperate with Mueller’s team.

Feds Reveal Alleged Direct Link Between Trump Campaign & Russia

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation now has what appears to be a direct link between Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Former campaign aide Rick Gates, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s team, was “directly communicating” in the final months of the presidential election in 2016 with a person who the FBI believes has ties to Russian intelligence, the USA Today reports.

The contacts were revealed in court documents in the upcoming sentencing of Alex van der Zwaan, a London attorney who had pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Gates and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is expected to face trial this fall on numerous fraud, conspiracy and tax charges.

Prosectors allege van der Zwaan knew about the contacts with “Person A,” who appears to be a former Ukraine-based aide who had worked with Gates and Manafort and has close ties to Russian intelligence.

“Gates told him ‘Person A’ was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU (the intelligence arm of the Russian military),” the court documents state.

The White House did not respond to direct questions about the latest revelations but offered a blanket denial of wrongdoing.

“There was no collusion and we’re confident in that,” White House spokeswoman Sanders said.