Monday, 24 September, 2018


Gates says he helped Manafort hide payments

Gates says he helped Manafort hide payments Gates says he helped Manafort hide payments
Bennie Garza | 09 August, 2018, 08:24

Rick Gates wrapped up his testimony Wednesday in the trial of his onetime friend and boss, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, reiterating that the two men conspired to lie on their taxes and defraud banks.

Paul Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing on Wednesday asked whether longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy.

Gates implicated himself in broad criminal conduct on the stand, an apparent strategic decision by prosecutors to take some of the steam out of defense questioning.

As well as being a senior aide on Trump's election campaign, Gates served as the deputy chairman of the United States president's inaugural committee.

On Wednesday, Gates initially testified Manafort told him to be truthful during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation about offshore shell companies and bank accounts that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work. "I'm here", Gates responded.

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

Rick Gates, the former business partner of Paul Manafort, testified Tuesday that he helped Manafort hide payments from offshore accounts.

Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.

The case has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump election effort coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

Downing spent several hours on Tuesday firing questions at Gates to impugn his credibility and paint him as a liar, asking about everything from his extramarital affair in London and funds he embezzled from Manafort, to questions on whether he may have crossed the line by submitting personal expenses when he worked for Republican candidate Trump's inaugural committee.

The case against Manafort has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

Manafort couldn't have followed his income "that closely" since Gates had "stolen" hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, Ellis said.

"I admitted to a previous relationship", Gates said, adding that he maintained a flat for about two months. Prosecutors agreed to drop a wide variety of additional charges against Gates in exchange for his guilty pleas and cooperation against Manafort.

The accountant testified she was unaware if the loan was recognized as income or ever paid back.

"Do you remember telling the office of the special counsel you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?" The charges are not related to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

In one example, Manafort and Gates emailed each other copies of a doctored profit and loss statement they later sent a bank to help Manafort obtain a loan.

Downing implied that Gates had lied on the stand, leading senior U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, the 78-year-old Ronald Reagan nominee overseeing the trial, to confer with both sides at the bench. The prosecution has presented pretty irrefutable evidence that Manafort used wires from his overseas bank accounts to pay for his personal domestic expenses, lied on loan applications, filed false tax returns and failed to disclose his network of overseas accounts.

Gates said prosecutors agreed not to pursue charges on those matters, and dropped a second indictment against him accusing him of bank and tax fraud.

"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this". Instead, he asked Gates more broadly: "Does your secret life span over many years?"

After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight.

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