Paul Manafort trial day 7: Rick Gates cross examination continues

08 August, 2018, 20:30 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Watch the clip above courtesy of MSNBC

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.

During cross-examination on Tuesday, the defense painted Gates as living a "secret life" in London and accused him of embezzling money from Manafort's foreign accounts at center of the trial to indulge in an extramarital affair in the United Kingdom.

Manafort's lawyer suggested that the affair - which included a London pad, first-class plane trips and luxury hotels - cost up to $3 million.

On Tuesday, defense attorney Kevin Downing appeared to be pressing Rick Gates to admit he had an extramarital affair as part of the effort to discredit his testimony against Paul Manafort. The defense asserted in its opening statement that Gates could have committed the bank fraud, tax fraud and foreign banking crimes that form Manafort's charges.

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

If convicted on all counts, Manafort could face eight to 10 years in prison based on federal sentencing guidelines, according to sentencing expert Justin Paperny.

Rick Gates said under questioning from Manafort's lawyer 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. This kept the scheme mostly hidden from accountants and bookkeepers-though immunized witness Cynthia Laporta earlier testified that she had her doubts about the veracity of Manafort's and Gates's representations surrounding the loans. Gates also fabricated a forgiveness letter for what he said was already a fake loan between Manafort's consulting company and a Cypriot entity he controlled.

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Gates (46) admitted he had embezzled from other employers; he had volunteered the information once he began cooperating.

In a final back and forth between lawyers over Gates's credibility, the focus turned to his decision to plead guilty and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which Manafort's defence have portrayed as an attempt to save his own skin. "You told me you were on top of this", he wrote Gates in April 2015.

Both Manafort and Gates were indicted previous year on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

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

Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too. Both sides agreed ahead of time to limit discussion of the campaign so as not to prejudice the jury, though they had agreed to allow testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the campaign. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort. Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents. Gates testified they were not loans but compensation to Manafort. Gates said the money in these accounts was earned from Manafort's political campaign work. And prosecutors flashed a note from a meeting Manafort and Gates had in 2013, showing that an unnamed Trump may have received Manafort's Yankees tickets. He frequently used the phrases "It's possible" and "I don't recall" as Downing challenged him about inconsistencies in testimony he gave to the special counsel's office.

That is expected to continue on Wednesday - and then prosecutors are expected to have an opportunity to question Gates again and try to rehabilitate him.

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