Manafort’s former business partner drops bombshell testimony

07 August, 2018, 05:26 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • AFP  Getty Images FILEPaul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court

As Gates testified in a calm, dispassionate way about the crimes he says he and Manafort committed together (as well as crimes he says Manafort didn't know about, including embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from him), Manafort appeared to be looking directly at his former colleague.

Gates testified that Manafort told him to report overseas income as loans to lower Manafort's taxable income, supporting the testimony of his accountant.

When Rick Gates took the stand in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial Monday, he quickly showed the power Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team can wield if they can get witnesses to "flip" against former friends and colleagues, a particular obsession of President Donald Trump's as the Russian Federation investigation grinds on.

In court on Monday, Gates testified that he did steal from Manafort. Gates has been described by witnesses as Manafort's right-hand man who helped run the operations of a multimillion-dollar political consulting business. Prosecutors allege he did not properly disclose his relations with foreign governments, and that he hid income in order to avoid his tax burden in the United States.

Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, on Monday testified at trial that he helped Manafort file false tax returns and hide his foreign bank accounts. Gates was Manafort's partner in the consultancy.

Ellis tried to hurry the prosecution along throughout the day, at one point scolding Andres as he asked Gates about Manafort's political work in Ukraine. Gates said he made the government aware of the scheme, which was not among the initial charges he faced before pleading guilty, as part of his cooperation with prosecutors.

Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Some of the maneuvers were at the request of Gates, while others implicated Manafort, Laporta testified.

Under cross examination, she said at the time she believed Manafort was directing Gates' actions and "knew what was going on".




Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 bank and tax fraud charges and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

The prosecution's witness list still has 19 names of those who've yet to appear in court.

Prosecutors said last week that they meant to call him to the stand before resting their case this week. Lawyers then met privately with the judge for a bench conference.

But Ms Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Mr Manafort, legal experts said.

Gates came out swinging from the witness box. Laporta, who testified under an immunity deal with the government, acknowledged that she agreed under pressure from Gates to alter a tax document for one of Manafort's businesses.

Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort.

Later, they say, when that income dwindled, Manafort launched a different scheme, shoring up his struggling finances by using doctored documents to obtain millions more in bank loans.

The jury heard testimony on Friday and Monday from accountant Cynthia Laporta, who described how Manafort and Gates doctored financial statements and backdated loans.

The criminal case has nothing 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.

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