Gates, star witness against Manafort, concludes testimony

Aug 10, 2018, 03:16
Gates, star witness against Manafort, concludes testimony

The prosecution's star witness Rick Gates took the stand for a second day in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, as he described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents at Manafort's behest as his former boss became concerned he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up.

Gates, also a former Trump campaign aide, has claimed during three days of evidence that he both stole for and stole from Manafort, who denies 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Also on Wednesday, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant, Morgan Magionos, told jurors bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates.

The fraud trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort enters its eighth day as prosecutors say they plan on resting their case by the end of Friday. He pleaded guilty to charges in February and is cooperating for the possibility of a reduced sentence.

Manafort and Gates were the first two individuals indicted in Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the US government.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of Gates on Tuesday, accusing Gates of being immersed in "so many lies" he can't remember them all and demanded to know how a jury could possibly trust him.

Gates also admitted in the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom to an extramarital affair 10 years ago and keeping an apartment in London, saying he falsified hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense reports because "I was living beyond my means". Prosecutors objected and Gates never answered the question.

Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans

Although the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation are not at issue in this trial, any significant blows to the government's case are likely be seized on by the president's defenders, including conservative media, to support his contention that Mueller's investigation is a "rigged witch-hunt". "Mr. Manafort had the same path". They made a mistake when they confirmed me.

Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong effect of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.

"I've acknowledged there was a period where I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married.

Prosecutors also introduced emails from Manafort to vendors of luxury items he bought in which he promises payment via wire transfers from "my" account, citing some of the offshore entities he is accused of using to hide his wealth. Gates said he was responsible for collecting all relevant documents for the loan applications. Prosecutors allege that he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.

"I would be surprised, given what's occurred in the Manafort trial, if Judge Ellis didn't issue this relatively standard instruction", Abramson said.

In December 2016, Manafort sent an "urgent" email to Gates including Calk and Calk's son on a list of people Manafort wanted to receive invitations to Trump's inauguration.

"I thought it was a lower amount", Gates said Wednesday.

While Gates and others have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and legal experts say he may be holding out hopes of a pardon from Trump.

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