Manafort trial: Star witness testifies against ex-Trump aide

Posted August 07, 2018

Rick Gates, beginning testimony at the financial crimes trial of Paul Manafort, said he committed crimes with his former boss.

"Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?" a prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team asked Gates, the key witness in the charges brought against Manafort.

Gates says that when millions of dollars came in from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting work, Manafort would decide whether to classify it as income or a loan.

That's what the former Trump campaign chairman's "right-hand man", Rick Gates, told jurors in Manafort's financial fraud trial. Having initially been charged alongside Manafort, Gates has since cooperated with the special counsel as part of their investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 campaign.

Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's former business partner, is expected to testify in federal court Monday.

"We did not submit the required form designating he had control over an offshore account", Gates told the jury in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on the fifth day of the trial.

He also admitted to concealing millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf and to falsifying loan applications and other documents to help Manafort obtain more in bank loans. In exchange for his plea, Gates agreed to testify against Manafort.

Gates is also admitting to carrying out a vast scheme to hide millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf. Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct, calling him a liar and embezzler.

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Similar to prior witnesses, Ms Laporta testified Mr Gates and Mr Manafort were in lockstep but that Mr Manafort was in charge.

During opening arguments last week, the defense team made it clear they intend to blame Gates, who handled some day-to-day business operations for Manafort, for numerous alleged reporting deficiencies Manafort is charged with.

Russia If You're ListeningPaul Manafort: The dictator's fixerIn four years Paul Manafort went from making millions of dollars in Ukraine, to running the Trump campaign, to jail.

Ms Laporta, looking at a summary of loans to Mr Manafort and his businesses, said she could not see any indication the loan from Mr Deripaska had been paid off. Similar to prior witnesses, Laporta testified that Gates and Manafort were in lockstep but that Manafort was in charge.

Testimony from Mr Manafort's tax preparer continued on Monday.

Gates also said he lied in a lawsuit deposition years ago, after Manafort "asked me not to include" certain things in the deposition.

There was no mention of President Trump or his campaign, but this trial is the first big public test for the special counsel.

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