World News

Rick Gates: I Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

Rick Gates: I Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

Rick Gates, the key prosecution witness in the tax and fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, testified Monday he had committed crimes alongside and at the direction of his former partner - and had also stolen from Manafort himself.

Prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates if he conducted criminal activity with Manafort and if he had committed crimes with Manafort.

The judge in the Paul Manafort trial reminded Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team on Friday of the high bar for conviction - that they must prove the former Trump campaign chairman knowingly violated tax and bank laws related to his political work overseas. Testifying under immunity, she was the first witness to admit she knew accounting maneuvers Manafort and Gates requested of her were wrong and could be crimes.

Paul Manafort conspired to hide millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS and directed his longtime deputy to lie to bookkeepers, banks and accountants to conceal the scheme.

Critical testimony expected at the trial of President Trump's former campaign chair as Manafort's right-hand man set to take the stand as early as Monday; reaction and analysis from James Trusty, former Justice Department prosecutor.

Gates did not make eye contact with Manafort as he took the stand wearing a yellow tie and navy blue suit.

Notably, after urging prosecutors to speed things along as jurors heard from 14 witnesses last week, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said late on August 3 that Downing could begin his questioning of Laporta on Monday and wouldn't rush him.

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.

On Monday, Ms LaPorta was asked by prosecutors if she had been aware of a $10m loan from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska that the district attorney said was "supposedly made in 2006".

Laporta detailed multiple examples in which Manafort and Gates sought to doctor financial records, first in order to lower Manafort's taxable income and then later to inflate his income so that he could get bank loans.

Attorney Thomas Zehnle accused Gates of embezzling money from Manafort's consulting firm and said that Gates was now agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors to cover his tracks. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.


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