Manafort's lawyers press witness about his own lies, affair, embezzlement

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

The prosecution's star witness against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort admitted on the stand Tuesday that he cheated Manafort, cheated on his wife and may have even cheated the president's inaugural committee.

Gates also admitted in the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom to an extramarital affair 10 years ago and keeping an apartment in London, saying he falsified hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense reports because "I was living beyond my means".

In an aggressive cross-examination on Tuesday, Manafort's lead attorney Downing said to Gates: "You stole from Mr. Manafort".

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

"I'm here. I'm trying to change", he said.

Gates, who pleaded guilty to charges in February and is co-operating for the possibility of a reduced sentence, testified that he helped Manafort falsify his tax returns, lie to banks to get loans and hide foreign bank accounts.

Paul Manafort's protégé on Wednesday wrapped up his testimony after implicating the former Trump campaign chairman and himself in financial crimes and also enduring stinging attacks on his character and credibility.

Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been a distraction for a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to publicly fume about Mueller's investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin.

When it was his turn to question Gates, defense attorney Kevin Downing went on the offensive, pressing him on what amount of time he would have expected to face in prison had he not agreed to cooperate with the government. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

Gates said he did not.

Gates said under questioning Wednesday that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.




While the defense's strategy seems focused destroying Gates' trustworthiness in the eyes of the jury, prosecutors have sought to broaden their case so it's not completely reliant on him.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents.

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade U.S. taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

In the email, exchange, Gates tells his boss he plans to wire money from Leviathan - one of Manafort's many Cypriot shelf accounts - to the U.S. At the email, he asks for Manafort's permission.

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.

The accountant testified she was unaware if the loan was recognized as income or ever paid back.

Gates also said that he did not report 15 foreign offshore bank accounts to the government.

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

On Wednesday, Downing sought to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by getting Gates to acknowledge that Manafort told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But as soon as Downing asked about "the secret life of Rick Gates", the witness volunteered, "There was a period of time, nearly ten years ago, when I had a relationship, yes".

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday.

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