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Rick Gates testifies in court he committed crimes with Paul Manafort

08 August, 2018, 00:36 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Rick Gates Testifies That He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

Rick Gates, Manafort's former partner in crime (literally, it turns out), took the stand to detail the many shady sides of the worldwide lobbying business he helped the ex-superlobbyist run for years. Gates pleaded guilty this year to felony charges and agreed to co-operate in an investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Gates also copped to inflating Manafort's income in doctored financial statements he provided to banks where Manafort was applying for loans once DMP's revenue stream from Ukraine dried up in 2014.

In his plea deal, Gates admitted to lying to investigators a number of times, and on Monday he admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort's company, in the form of falsified expense reports.

Rick Gates appeared in a Virginia court as the star witness in the trial of Paul Manafort, who was the chairman of President Trump's 2016 election campaign team.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether any Trump aides colluded with an alleged Moscow plot to help elect him as United States president, and whether there was any obstruction of justice. Gates has accepted a plea deal to testify against Manafort, who is facing 18 charges, including tax fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

He has also told jurors that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years as part of the offshore payment structure. Gates was copied in on Manafort's emails, attended events in Manafort's place and generally carried out his boss' wishes.

"A lot of these loan agreements are backdated", Gates said.

Gates said he first met Manafort at a Christmas party in 1995 when Gates was an intern at the lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, where Manafort was a partner.

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Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Manafort do not address that.

Accountant Cindy LaPorta - who was granted immunity from prosecution - said on Friday she suspected that Gates was misleading her about Mr Manafort's finances.

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did on Monday.

He was explicit at multiple points about Manafort's agency in the crimes, saying he lied to accountants "at Mr. Manafort's request", that he told those accountants Manafort didn't control any foreign bank accounts (which the prosecution says he did) "at Mr. Manafort's direction", and that Manafort "directed" him to categorize some income as loans in order to reduce his taxable income. This is just the first of two trials in cases based on allegations involving Manafort and Gates.

He has tweeted support for his former campaign manager, suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Since the trial started before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis last Tuesday, Manafort's lawyers have kept their cross-examinations brief and at times refrained from attempting to rebut damaging testimony in detail. Kerik, on the other hand, isn't putting any weight on Gates' words because of his motivation for testifying.

He said that some of Manafort's income was disguised as loans from 15 shell companies that Manafort controlled, majority in Cyprus.

All told, prosecutors allege that Manafort failed to report a "significant percentage" of the more than $60 million they say he received from Ukrainians.

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