Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, testified on Monday at his former business partner Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial that he assisted Manafort in filing false tax returns.

Gates - who served on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign with Mr Manafort - told the court he had stolen from other employers, too. Whilst the charges against Manafort do not directly relate to Trump's presidential campaign, or any potential collusion, both Gates and Manafort were indicted as a direct effect of Mueller's investigation.

Prosecutors will turn to Gates for first-hand support of their accusations that Manafort concealed millions of dollars in foreign income and later lied when he applied for bank loans.

He testified that "at Mr. Manafort's direction", he knowingly and deliberately violated United States tax law by failing to disclose assets held in 15 foreign bank accounts belonging to both him and Manafort to federal authorities.

"Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar and couldn't let his boss find out", Manafort defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said during opening arguments.

This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, answering questions by prosecutor Greg Andres as he testifies in the trial of Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Va.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort financed a lavish lifestyle featuring sumptuous residences and extravagant wardrobes by using millions of dollars in profits that he hid from tax authorities then turned to bank fraud when his income started to dry up.

Jurors will hear again Monday from Cynthia Laporta, an accountant who testified August 3 about going along with phony, backdated documents meant to help lower Manafort's tax bills and secure real-estate loans even as his personal debt rose.

When asked, "Did you commit crimes with Mr. Manafort?"


Manafort, facing charges of bank and tax fraud related to his work in Ukraine, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Gates' testimony is expected to be the key focal point of the Manafort trial, the first that Mueller's team has brought before a jury as part of the broad investigation into Russian election interference in 2016.

The charges relate to Manafort's work for Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin president, Viktor Yanukovich.

As well as serving as Manafort's right-hand man in their multimillion-dollar business, Gates was also Manafort's deputy on the Trump campaign.

His testimony is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.

In court on Monday, Gates testified that he did steal from Manafort.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who has clashed with prosecutors as he urged them to hurry up presenting their case, has largely allowed the prosecution to question Gates uninterrupted. Manafort attorney Kevin Downing will cross-examine Laporta, who is testifying under an immunity agreement because she feared prosecution for perjury or false statements.

Laporta thought that was odd, so she asked Gates for information about the $2.4 million Manafort was supposedly owed.

Last week, a tax preparer named Cindy Laporta admitted that she helped disguise $900,000 in foreign income as a loan in order to reduce Manafort's tax burden. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

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