Paul Manafort trial day 9: Prosecution hopes to rest its case

Rick Gates is seen on the witness stand as a message between he and his former boss Paul Manafort appears before the court during Manafort's trial in Virginia. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy

A Chicago bank chief pushed for $16 million United States in loans to Paul Manafort in return for help landing a post in the incoming Trump administration, a witness in the former Trump campaign chairman's federal fraud trial testified on Friday.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis corrected himself Thursday, apologizing for an outburst the previous day.

A federal judge late Thursday granted a request from special counsel Robert Mueller's office to keep secret a portion of a private discussion they had at the bench with Paul Manafort's attorneys and the judge during the testimony of Rick Gates.

Ellis has yet to comment on the motion.

When Raico started discussing loans with Manafort, Raico called Calk, who is the CEO and founder of the bank at 300 N. Elizabeth. "In new court filing prosecutors are fighting back after days of Judge Ellis growing increasingly angry at them".

Prosecutors have said that Calk pushed through the loans for Manafort because he wanted a job in the Trump administration.

The developments came after weeks of testimony that was sometimes tedious and based on bank and other records.

It's related to their work for Ukraine's pro-Russian government, before they worked for Donald Trump's election campaign.

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Though substantive, untelevised and far from a Trump-style reality show, the trial has featured some drama when star witness Gates testified against his former boss. The defense pointed to Gates' extramarital affairs, and said he embezzled funds from Manafort. Defence attorneys called Gates a liar interested in avoiding jail time under a plea deal.

Manafort submitted the loan documents that day. Manafort faces charges of bank fraud and tax evasion. That distinction matters because banks regard loans for rental, or investment, properties as riskier and may impose restrictions, including on how much money they're willing to lend.

But the postponement is significant, as prosecutors had been hoping to finish calling witnesses Friday - and Ellis has a reputation as a strickler for keeping trials moving.

And then, Ellis instructed Mueller team to try and focus their questions, before joking prosecutors aren't familiar with their own exhibits after they asked for a minute to pull out a piece of paper.

The judge has subjected the prosecution to repeated scolding over the pace of their questioning, their large amount of trial exhibits and even their facial expressions.

The judge said Thursday that he was "probably wrong" for criticizing prosecutors for having one of their witnesses, IRS revenue agent Michael Welch, in the courtroom ahead of his testimony.

"Remember, he believes that you and Jessica are living there", Manafort wrote in the email, referencing his daughter.

"Put aside my criticism", Ellis said, adding: "This robe doesn't make me anything other than human".

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