Manafort's attorney suggests Gates lied about how many affairs he had

Manafort's attorney suggests Gates lied about how many affairs he had

Day 7 of the Paul Manafort trial begins in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday with the continuation of a blistering cross examination of Manafort's former business associate Rick Gates.

Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work.

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.

Prosecutors summoned Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. He's expected to go for at least another hour in questioning with Manafort's attorney's.

Gates, who is awaiting sentencing, told jurors that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false expense reports.

Manafort's defense team's primary strategy has been to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates, and some observers felt Downing made some headway toward that goal on Tuesday. Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Trump's presidential campaign.

Prosecutor Greg Andres had objected to the defense using the affair against Gates, saying the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled "that if somebody cheats on their wife or whatever, it's not necessarily indicative of truthfulness".

Downing followed up: "Do you remember telling the office of the special counsel you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?"

Gates admitted during testimony on Monday to embezzling money from Manafort. "Mr. Manafort had the same path". She said Manafort's passport was used to open many of them in US dollars, euros and British pounds.




Ahead of that barrage, Gates has implicated himself in a vast amount of criminal conduct on the stand, an apparent strategic decision by prosecutors as they hope to take some of the steam out of the defense's questioning.

"I admitted to a previous relationship", Gates said, adding that he maintained a flat for about two months. "I did, to one count, your honour", he said.

As part of his plea agreement to cooperate with prosecutors, Gates also admitted to lying to investigators from the special counsel's office - a fact Downing also seized upon.

After saying Monday that he committed crimes with Manafort, including concealing offshore accounts to avoid reporting them to the USA government at tax time and claiming false income to get loans, Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing asked the witness, "This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?" He testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, concealing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

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.

Manafort to Gates in 2016, doctoring numbers in a financial statement.

Paul Manafort's longtime deputy told jurors Tuesday how he spent years disguising millions of dollars in foreign income as loans to lower the former Trump campaign chairman's tax bill. Downing pressed him on the specifics of their business relationship: which payments to Gates were authorised and which were not.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Asked if had also claimed unauthorised personal expenses from the inaugural committee, Gates replied "It's possible".

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