Drama grips court as Manafort lawyers accuse Rick Gates of multiple affairs

Charlene Craig
August 8, 2018

Paul Manafort's former "right-hand man" admitted Tuesday that he embezzled from their consulting firm, engaged in fraud, lied to the special counsel, and conducted an worldwide extramarital affair.

Rick Gates, the former business partner of Paul Manafort, testified Tuesday that he helped Manafort hide payments from offshore accounts.

That's important to prosecutors, who need to not only prove Manafort skimped on paying millions of dollars in taxes.

However, when Andres returned to the podium for another chance to question Gates, Gates said that Manafort did reach out to a Ukrainian businessman before his Federal Bureau of Investigation interview to get more information about the entity that the businessman used to pay him and to make sure that it was "clean", meaning it was only used to pay Manafort.

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade U.S. taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

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The vendors testified about how Manafort paid for his luxury goods, including cars and custom suits, by using direct wire transfers from accounts overseas. Manafort also included Calk on a list he emailed to Gates of people he wanted to invite to Trump's inauguration.

Gates (46) admitted he had embezzled from other employers; he had volunteered the information once he began cooperating. After Yanukovych lost power in 2014, "I would say it decreased the income stream", Gates, wearing a blue suit, told the court matter-of-factly.

He is the first subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation to stand trial.

"They were documented as loans, but in reality they were funds moving between the accounts". "Mr Manafort had the same path".

In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, saying the two had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

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Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too. Prosecutors allege that the bank lent Manafort money based on fraudulent documents, and that Calk was named an adviser to the campaign and sought the Army post as part of a quid pro quo.

As for the bank fraud charges against Manafort, prosecutors presented the most compelling evidence yet that he knowingly inflated his income when applying for loans.

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?" But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone. When Gates had prepared the transaction, he would run the final logistics by Manafort.

In prosecutors' questioning, then in a combative cross-examination from the defense team, Gates revealed the extent to which he had siphoned money from his boss and committed a host of other misdeeds.

Those who dealt with Manafort's taxes also testified that even though they asked Manafort whether he maintained any bank accounts overseas, he told them no.

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And Gates faced fraud charges from the special counsel after it discovered he had written a letter to a Swiss movie production company falsely claiming that his own production company was investing in a film project by his friend, Steve Brown. 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.

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