Rick Gates, testifying in Manafort trial, admits to affair, London apartment

by Garry Watts August 9, 2018, 17:29
Rick Gates, testifying in Manafort trial, admits to affair, London apartment

"I'm not sure why, but there have been certain exchanges at sidebar that have seemed not all that judicious to me", he said.

Prosecutor Greg Andres immediately objected and Downing did not return to the subject after a hushed consultation among the lawyers with Judge T.S. Ellis. Afterward, Downing dropped the Trump-related line of questioning, moving on to other topics without explanation. Trump was indirectly referenced in multiple ways throughout the testimony, highlighting the risks to the president of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Both sides have agreed to limit discussion of the campaign to avoid prejudicing the jury, though they did permit testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the Trump election effort.

He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Mr Manafort's tax bill.

Asked if he had been coached, Gates replied, "The only answer I was told was to tell the truth".

The questioning of Paul Manafort's protege during the political consultant's financial fraud trial has turned confrontational and personal, focusing on Rick Gates' own crimes as well as an extramarital affair and a plea agreement.

He scoffed at the idea that Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Manafort. They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury.

Cindy Laporta, a tax accountant for Manafort, testified Monday under immunity that she helped file falsified bank loan applications for him even though she knew they were inaccurate. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.

Gates said he and Manafort created an elaborate operation in Cyprus to use shell companies to secretly accept the money.

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Paul Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, is on the stand for the third straight day in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial as prosecutors and defense lawyers wage their battle over Gates' credibility.

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. However, the Manafort case - as President Donald Trump has been quick to point out - focuses on Manafort's business dealings and has no direct connection to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

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".

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.

Gates, who also worked on Trump's campaign, is the star witness against Manafort.

Bankers and others familiar with Manafort's real estate portfolio and debts are poised to recount that he lied to get mortgages.

IRS agent Michael Welch said in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia that Manafort received $15.5 million from Ukraine which he then used to pay for clothes, homes and landscaping between 2010 and 2014.

Gates, 46, is expected to be cross-examined for about another hour by Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing before prosecutors get a second chance to try and undo some of the possibly damaging testimony he gave during their redirect. "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec (retary) of the Army", Manafort wrote to Gates in an email on November 24, 2016.

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