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Manafort trial: Rick Gates admits to extramarital affair and former Trump campaign aide accused of 'secret life'

Rick Gates faces tough examination from defence as they seek to undermine his credibility

Clark Mindock
New York
,Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 07 August 2018 23:21 BST
Ex-Trump Campaign Chair Manafort's Court Arrival

Paul Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates has told court that he spent years disguising millions of dollars in foreign income as loans to lower​ Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman's tax bill

MrGates, the government's star witness, testified that he and Mr Manafort used offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from US tax authorities.

“In Cyprus, they were documented as loans. In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts,” Mr Gates said during his second day of testimony in the bank fraud trial,

Under cross examination Mr Gates, admitted that he had “another relationship” involving first-class flights and luxury hotels, but denied these were funded with money embezzled from Manafort. Mr Manafort's defence called this "the secret Rick Gates".

Prosecutors summoned Mr Gates, described by witnesses as Mr Manafort's “right-hand man,” to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they allege helped Mr Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme.

On Monday, Mr Gates said the pair had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents in order to disguise income from US tax officials.

He also acknowledged having embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr Manafort.

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

The charges largely predate his five months on the Trump campaign.

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load

Mr Manafort’s defence hinges on pinning the blame on his former aide, and his attorneys have accused Mr Gates of embezzling millions of dollars from his former boss.

The case drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings.

In early testimony on Tuesday, Mr Gates related his role in setting up offshore bank accounts for Mr Manafort, a complex arrangement that was requested by those paying for Mr Manafort's political consultancy work in Ukraine.

Mr Gates testified that Mr Manafort negotiated the offshore payment structure in person with Ukrainian business people, and then Mr Gates would then codify the details in writing.

Mr Gates also described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents allegedly at Manafort's behest as his former boss became concerned he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up after the consultancy work fell away after 2014

Associated Press


Welcome to The Independent's live blog on the trial of Paul Manafort. 

Rick Gates, who testified on Monday that he helped file false tax returns and hide Mr Manafort's foreign bank accounts, will continue to testify against his former boss and is expected to face a rigorous cross examination.

Samuel Osborne7 August 2018 11:45

Here's our article on Mr Manafort's deputy admitting to criminal activity while working for him. 

Samuel Osborne7 August 2018 11:48

The trail is set to re-open any time now.

Rock Gates will take the stand again and prosecutors have said they expect to question their star witness for another three hours.

After that, Paul Manafort’s defense attorneys will get their turn to cross-examine Mr Gates. Factoring in breaks and lunch, his testimony could be the only that jurors hear on Tuesday.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:35

Mr Gates is a pivotal witness, and already, his testimony has caused waves. He testified that he committed crimes with Mr Manafort — crimes which he described to the FBI and prosecutors in 20 meetings to prepare for his testimony.

Mr Gates also admitted committing wrongdoing all on his own, including embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his former business partner.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:36

For the defence, their case also relies on Mr Gates. They are seeking to show that Mr Gates was behind any bank fraud and then cut a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:37

It should prove tp be a fascinating day.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:37

A little more on the defense's tactics:

Mr Manafort's whole defense is that he put his trust in Mr Gates who then embezzled from him and failed to accurately report their business income to the government. Mr Manafort has denied all the charges against him.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:45

During his testimony on Monday afternoon, Rick Gates offered some insight into his cooperation with the government.

Gates testified that he had met 20 times with the government to prepare to take the stand. He said that he had turned over evidence to the government and that the government has promised not to bring any additional charges.

Gates admitted to three other crimes that had not been previously known: He lied on a mortgage application; he lied on credit card applications; and he filed false expense reports to his employer - Mr Manafort.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:51

No doubt Judge TS Ellis will be keeping a close eye on the pace of the questioning today - he and prosecutor Greg Andres clashed yesterday repeatedly over it.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:58

Although some suggested that the prosecution clearly think that Judge Ellis has gone too far with his interruptions.

Steve Anderson7 August 2018 14:59

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