by Cristina Laila
August 1, 2018
Mueller’s prosecutors sent shockwaves through the Alexandria, VA courtroom Wednesday morning when they admitted Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates may not testify.
Rick Gates previously pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller; he was even referred to as the Special Counsel’s ‘star witness.’
Judge T.S. Ellis blasted Uso Asonye, Mueller’s prosecutor who told him Rick Gates may not testify.
Via the Washington Times:
In a shocking admission Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said Rick Gates may not testify in the trial of his former business partner Paul Manafort.
Mr. Gates, who oversaw some of the financial dealings of Mr. Manafort’s consulting business, was expected to be a key witness for the government.
But prosecutor Uso Asonye said jurors may not hear from Mr. Gates after all.
“He may testify, he may not,” Mr. Asonye told Judge T.S. Ellis III.
The revelation sent journalists and others out of the courtroom to report the disclosure.
“That’s news to me and about 25 others who scurried out of here like rats on a sinking ship,” Judge Ellis shot back.
Mr. Asonye attempted to backtrack, telling Judge Ellis that the evidence presented will determine if Mr. Gates‘ testifies.
That drew a sharp rebuke from Judge Ellis.
“You know who you are going to call,” He said. “If you are [not] going to call him then this is a waste of time.”
This rebuke from Judge Ellis was in response to FBI agent Matthew Mikuska describing a financial document put together by Rick Gates.
Judge Ellis told the agent his testimony on the document was unnecessary since Rick Gates would testify.
Mueller’s prosecutors skewered Manafort in their opening statement Tuesday afternoon, accusing Manafort of being a “shrewd” liar and making millions of dollars off of his consulting work in Ukraine then hiding the money in foreign bank accounts.
Judge Ellis, a Reagan appointee, interrupted Mueller’s prosecutor, Asonye, who told jurors that Manafort owned several homes, acquired real estate in New York and Virginia, bought expensive cars and watches, and even got a $15,000 jacket “made from an ostrich.”
“It isn’t a crime to have money and be profligate with your spending,” Judge Ellis said to Asonye.
Manafort faces a maximum of 305 years in prison if he is convicted on all charges.
President Trump defended Manafort in a pair of tweets Wednesday morning, pointing out Manafort is being treated worse than Al Capone, a mob boss and killer.