Rick Gates called to testify at Paul Manafort’s fraud trial

Leroy Wright
August 7, 2018

Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's former right hand man, has been called to testify in the trial the former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Gates said that he did all of those crimes "at the direction of Mr. Manafort", CNN reported.

Gates pleaded guilty earlier this year as part of an agreement to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Gates says the goal of the fraud was to lower Manafort's tax bill and allow him to defer payment on the income until later years.

The jury had heard testimony on Friday and Monday from accountant Cynthia Laporta, who described how Manafort and Gates doctored financial statements and backdated loans.

Manafort's defense hinges on convincing a jury that it was Gates, not Manafort, who committed all of these crimes, and that Manafort is a victim of Gates.

"This is typically the most important testimony that a "flipper" can give prosecutors - an admission that they committed crimes along with the defendant, along with an explanation of how they did it", Mariotti tweeted on Monday.

The testimony from Gates, a former adviser to Donald Trump, comes after reaching a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year to testify against his former partner in a lucrative worldwide political consulting firm.

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

The former Trump campaign chairman has pleaded not guilty to several counts of bank fraud, tax evasion and money laundering, among others, related to his work as a pro-Russia lobbyist in Ukraine.

The witness also testified that he had helped the defendant file false tax returns, and had concealed 15 foreign accounts from the United States government. Another special counsel prosecutor, Greg Andres, later clarified that prosecutors had "every intention" of calling Gates to the stand.

Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Manafort do not address that. The effect of the loan was to reduce Manafort's income by that amount and reduce his taxes, she said.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing says that Rick Gates will testify at the conclusion of the testimony of Manafort's tax preparer.

But she said she was under the impression that Mr Manafort had been directing his deputies' actions and "knew what was going on".

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