War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

Cheryl Sanders
August 8, 2018

Paul Manafort's longtime deputy told jurors Tuesday how he spent years disguising millions of dollars in foreign income as loans to lower the former Trump campaign chairman's tax bill.

"I've acknowledged there was a period where I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married.

Manafort's lawyer suggested that the affair - which included a London pad, first-class plane trips and luxury hotels - cost up to $3 million. Manafort business partner Rick Gates testified Tuesday that it was Weissmann who confronted him about a lie he had told special counsel investigators, and it was Weissmann who told him he would have to admit to that lie in an additional charge to keep his plea deal with the special counsel's office alive.

Manafort is accused of committing tax and bank fraud with millions made through political work in Ukraine.

The tensions over Downing's focus on Gates' marital infidelity came after rounds of questioning where the temperature was somewhat cooler than what it had been on Tuesday afternoon, when Downing drubbed Manafort's ex-business deputy about his admission that he embezzled from his former boss, and other alleged criminal activity.

"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this".

Gates is cooperating in hopes of a lighter prison sentence.


Gates, 46, is expected to be cross-examined for about another hour by Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing before prosecutors get a second chance to try and undo some of the possibly damaging testimony he gave during their redirect. This time, however, Manafort himself provided Gates the template to be used for vendor payments, according to the witness.

"They were documented as loans, but in reality they were funds moving between the accounts".

"No, they're not", Gates said. Oh, and he says he did it all "at the direction of Mr. Manafort".

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".

Presented with a copy of his plea agreement, Gates said he conspired with Mr Manafort to falsify his tax returns.

Jurors saw emails from Manafort imploring Gates to help a banker, Stephen Calk, make inroads into the campaign, inauguration and administration.

Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work.


Manafort is on trial here facing bank and tax fraud charges.

During a series of redirect questions on Wednesday, Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing asked Gates if he remembers telling special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's office that he had four extramarital affairs.

Gates described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents 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.

Gates first responded, "I made many mistakes over several years". When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans.

In one example, Manafort and Gates emailed each other copies of a doctored profit and loss statement they later sent a bank to help Manafort obtain a loan. Trump often boasts that he hires "the best people", and the sixth day of the trial showcased two people who worked for him, one who allegedly tried to use his influence in Trump's circle to boost someone he had a sketchy financial relationship with, and another who admitted under oath that he may have stolen money from Trump's inaugural committee.


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