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

07 August 2018

Gates testified that Manafort told him to report overseas income as loans to lower Manafort's taxable income, supporting the testimony of his accountant.

Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing said Gates would be the next witness called in the federal trial in Alexandria, Virginia. While Gates had already admitted to knowingly hiding foreign accounts for Manafort, there are still a lot of details about alleged fraud in Manafort's indictment that prosecutors will want to ask him about.

Similar to prior witnesses, Ms Laporta testified Mr Gates and Mr Manafort were in lockstep but that Mr Manafort was in charge. The defense signaled in opening arguments that they'll try to pin the tax and bank fraud crimes at issue in this case on him. 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.

Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, on Monday testified at Manafort's fraud trial that they committed crimes. Gates was Manafort's partner in the consultancy.

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.

The charges largely predate his five months on the Trump campaign but were the first to go to trial arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Gates also testified he and Manafort knew it was a crime because they had been notified by Manafort's accountants in emails.

Aside from admitting to the false expense reports, Gates said he also created a fake letter to an investment company for a different colleague, Steve Brown.

Manafort, a flamboyant figure in Washington for decades, became known for his consulting and lobbying work for ethically questionable worldwide leaders like Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

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The prosecution's witness list still has 19 names of those who've yet to appear in court. Lawyers then met privately with the judge for a bench conference.

On Monday, Prosecutors quickly got to the heart of the case.

The President is watching proceedings carefully as Mueller appears to be moving closer to his inner circle on multiple fronts and has complained that Manafort has been treated like a mobster - even as the White House has tried to open up some distance between Trump and his former campaign chairman.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort.

The government did not "let Gates out of trouble" for his cooperation, but prosecutors did agree to certain terms in a plea deal.

Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort. Laporta, who testified under an immunity deal with the government, acknowledged that she agreed under pressure from Gates to alter a tax document for one of Manafort's businesses.

But Mr Manafort is not charged with helping the Kremlin.

The criminal case has nothing to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer. His testimony, given in short, clipped answers as Manafort rarely broke his gaze from the witness stand, follows that of vendors who detailed Manafort's luxurious spending and financial professionals who told jurors how the defendant hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

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