Manafort’s Lawyers Get Personal As Rick Gates’s Testimony Wraps Up

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

Joshua Roberts Reuters In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

As for the bank fraud charges against Manafort, prosecutors presented the most compelling evidence yet that he knowingly inflated his income when applying for loans.

"After all the lies you told you expect this jury to believe you?"

Manafort's attorneys have signaled they will seek to blame Gates and have accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort.

The prosecution's star witness Rick Gates took the stand for a second day in the fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. U.S. District court Judge T.S. Ellis III presides.

Prosecutor Greg Andres had objected to the defense using the affair against Gates, saying the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled "that if somebody cheats on their wife or whatever, it's not necessarily indicative of truthfulness". Under the deal, he admitted to helping Manafort evade taxes, violate US lobbying laws, and hide foreign bank accounts. Downing said that the question, which came one day after Gates admitted to having a single affair ten years ago, was relevant because it could prove that Gates had lied to investigators.


"Did you submit personal expenses to the inaugural committee for reimbursement?" The defense moved on.

The questioning is part of the Manafort defense strategy of presenting Gates to the jury as someone who lies and can not be trusted. The income and the accounts, however, were not reported. He also said he committed credit card and mortgage fraud, falsified a letter for a colleague involved in an investment deal and made false statements in a deposition at Manafort's direction. He testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, concealing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents. The funds were logged as loans in order to meet later audits in Cyprus that required documentation of transfers between bank accounts.

Gates acknowledged that he did for two months and that he took first-class flights and stayed in "fancy hotels" around Europe, but said the money came from bonuses rather than illicit gains.

An FBI forensic accountant, Morgan Magionos, told jurors that bank records from Cyprus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom revealed the accounts were connected to Manafort and his associates.

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


The case 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 election effort coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

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". She said Manafort's passport was used to open many of them in US dollars, euros and British pounds.

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.

Gates not only testified that he had committed crimes with Manafort but also admitted he stole money from his former boss.

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income. It's a practice he has admitted to doing to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort, and under pressure from Downing, he agreed that it could be called embezzlement.


That testimony probably explains one of the minor mysteries of the first week of the Manafort trial.

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