War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too.

"Objection", prosecutor Greg Andres yelled.

Through emails and documents submitted into evidence Tuesday, Gates explained how he and Manafort enlisted the help of a Cypriot lawyer - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because his name, Gates said, was hard to pronounce - to create "shelf" companies to receive payments from Manafort's various Ukrainian political clients for their work.

The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess. But inside the courtroom, trial proceedings had plodded along almost Trump-free.

That's important to prosecutors, who need to not only prove Manafort skimped on paying millions of dollars in taxes. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

When Downing questioned why Gates had embezzled money from his boss, he used it as an opportunity to issue a public apology.

Gates, who is awaiting sentencing, told jurors that he siphoned off money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports.

Rick Gates said under questioning from Manafort's lawyer Wednesday that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work. They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury.

On Tuesday, Gates was forced to answer questions about past infidelity, his embezzlement and what Manafort had directed him to do while in his employment. But Gates conceded he took business trips to Las Vegas with an accused fraudster, Steven Brown, using money from Manafort's accounts in the U.S.

Sometimes, however, Gates said he would perform the same task without Manafort's direction or knowledge in order to embezzle funds from his employer.

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.




Both Manafort and Gates were indicted past year on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

Gates pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

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.

Gates, who was working on Trump's transition team, testified that Manafort had suggested Stephen Calk as a candidate for Army secretary two weeks after Trump was elected. The email exchange occurred after Manafort left the Trump campaign but while Gates was active on the Trump inauguration committee. The charges are not related to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, defense attorney Kevin Downing appeared to be pressing Rick Gates to admit he had an extramarital affair as part of the effort to discredit his testimony against Paul Manafort. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.

Mr Gates told jurors that he had been "tasked" by his boss "to determine how we could lower the taxes".

Presented with a copy of his plea agreement, Gates said he conspired with Mr Manafort to falsify his tax returns.

Gates converted the 2015 DMP P&L to a Word document for Manafort, but there were spacing, font, and other discrepancies between that copy and the original.

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

For most of his testimony, Gates did not look at Mr Manafort, while the defendant stared intently at his former partner.

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