Six bombshells from Rick Gates' testimony in the Paul Manafort trial

Leroy Wright
August 8, 2018

Gates undermined another of the defense's main arguments: that Manafort did not have the time to pay attention to his day-to-day expenses and personal finances.

Downing asked Gates if he's returned any of the money he stole from Manafort or his entities.

And there were Manafort's emails, which prosecutors showed to the courtroom. But Tuesday's proceedings were in some ways a reflection on him nonetheless.

Gates said Monday that over the years, Manafort directed him to make payments through wire transfers. "How could I be blindsided like this" on his high tax bill.

Gates and Manafort first met with Dr. K to set up the companies in 2007 in Cyprus, Gates testified.

"The circles are now squared", Gates told Manafort in 2016.

Gates said he did, but the defence lawyer wasn't satisfied. He said so to the jury, adding to the prosecutors' pile of evidence.

Gates elicited laughs from the crowd when he said he liked Downing's first answer.

Manafort's team hopes so.

"No, they're not", Gates said.

Downing then asked about what he called "the secret life of Rick Gates", inquiring whether Gates kept an apartment in London and if he engaged in an extramarital relationship there.

"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this". The pair avoided all eye contact.

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When Yanukovych lost power, Gates testified that "decreased the income stream" significantly for Manafort, and his financial situation "substantially decreased" from prior years.

Gates admitted to stealing from Manafort, but he said he did not know how much money he took.

"I was still on the campaign at the time", Gates said.

Downing told Judge T.S. Ellis III that he plans to cross-examine Gates for another hour Wednesday morning. "Mr Manafort had the same path".

The defense highlighted the terms of the deal Gates received for testifying in the bank and tax fraud case against Manafort on charges that stem from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's Russian Federation investigation. In short, they said they wanted to pin it all on the underling.

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore on questions the star witness for the prosecution will face from Paul Manafort's attorneys.

Gates appeared nervous on the witness stand at the court in Alexandria, Virginia, blinking frequently, his throat apparently dry as he spoke.

Gates was indicted on similar charges to Manafort, which were dropped after he agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges of conspiring against the USA and lying to the government officials in exchange for this testimony. Gates did not recall. But so far as the jury has heard, Manafort is too.

The aggressive questioning was aimed at shifting blame from Manafort onto Gates, who pleaded guilty in Mueller's investigation and agreed to co-operate with investigators by testifying in the financial fraud trial. 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. But then prosecutor Greg Andres invoked Trump's name, and Gates' and Manafort's work on the campaign became more explicitly tied to the alleged crimes at the heart of the trial.

As well as being a senior aide on Trump's election campaign, Gates served as the deputy chairman of the USA president's inaugural committee.

Employees from Federal Savings Bank are expected to testify later this week. That could be limited by ground rules both sides agreed to before the trial, including that Manafort's team must not assert that the special counsel's office had a political motivation.

Manafort, who helped Republicans Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan reach the White House, was Mr Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016.

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