Gates tells Manafort trial he assisted in filing false tax returns

Frederick Owens
August 7, 2018

Paul Manafort's former deputy Rick Gates took the stand Monday and admitted to committing crimes with his then-boss.

Mr Gates, whose testimony in the federal court trial of Mr Manafort - his longtime business partner - in Alexandria, Virginia, was continuing, was expected to be a star witness in the Government's case, having pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors under a deal that could lead to a reduced sentence.

In questioning Laporta on Monday, a prosecutor asked the accountant about a $10 million loan purportedly received by Manafort from Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska in 2006. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Gates was Manafort's partner in the consultancy.

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.

In stunning testimony at Manafort's trial on tax and fraud charges, Gates stated he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the federal government, and knew it was illegal.

"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.

More news: Takeaways After First Week of Manafort Trial

But Manafort's defense team is expected to use Gates, too.

Laporta, looking at a summary of loans to Manafort and his businesses, said she could not see any indication that the loan from Deripaska had been paid off.

Gates served as Manafort's business partner for almost a decade until 2016, when the two joined the Trump campaign for president.

Laporta also discussed problems that arose in February 2016 when Manafort needed cash and applied to Citizens Bank for a real-estate loan against property he owned in NY.

"They probably have hundreds and hundreds of emails", the former USA prosecutor said.

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

Earlier Monday, Ellis threatened to kick reporters out of the courtroom if they continue being "disruptive". The alleged crimes occurred before Manafort's time on the Trump campaign, and while the special counsel's mandate is to investigate possible foreign interference in the 2016 elections, Mueller was given latitude to pursue other potential crimes that arose during the course of his investigation.

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