Manafort prosecutor says he is unlikely to call Gates who was attacked by defense lawyers at the opening of trial
In a shocking admission Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said Rick Gates may not testify in the trial of his former business partner Paul Manafort.I think the prosecutor fears a vigorous cross-examination of Gates. I also think the Mueller team has gotten off to a bad start with Judge Ellis. Also, by not calling Gates that leaves the defense to do more to characterize his conduct as that of a person who maybe responsible for the crimes they have charged Manafort with.
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 going to call him then this is a waste of time.”
The exchange occurred during the testimony of FBI agent Mathew Mikuska, who raided Mr. Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia condo last year.