Trump’s Ex-Advisor Rick Gates Testifies He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

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HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images Rick Gates, the star witness in the case against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Gates and Manafort were also long-time business associates, and Gates flipped on his former ally when the two were indicted by the special counsel for a variety of financial crimes, including tax and bank fraud.

Reporters in the courtroom said that Manafort stared intently at Gates while he testified against him, but that Gates avoided looking at his former partner.

In early testimony Tuesday, Gates related his role in setting up offshore bank accounts for Manafort, a complex arrangement that was requested by wealthy and powerful Ukrainian businessmen who bankrolled Manafort's political consulting work in the country.

As well as serving as Manafort's right-hand man in their multimillion-dollar business, Gates was also Manafort's deputy on the Trump campaign. Oh, and he says he did it all "at the direction of Mr. Manafort". When Robert Mueller began investigating Russian interference past year, Manafort's questionable lobbying work - the sort of activity that has historically rarely been investigated in Washington - was put under a microscope, exposing him and his associates.

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Paul Manafort's trial is the first criminal trial to come out of the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and alleged collusion by the Trump campaign.

Mr Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Mr Manafort do not address that.

"When income came into the company, Mr. Manafort directed whether it would be treated as income.or loans", Gates said.

Gates and Manafort knew all of these actions were illegal, Gates said.

Some of the manoeuvrers were at the request of Mr Gates, while others implicated Mr Manafort, Ms Laporta testified. Laporta, who testified under an immunity deal with the government, acknowledged that she agreed under pressure from Gates to alter a tax document for one of Manafort's businesses.

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Though the names of those companies appeared on wire transfers and at times on his bookkeeper's ledger, both Manafort's accountants and his bookkeeper say they never knew that the companies - and corresponding offshore bank accounts - were controlled by Manafort.

The jury heard testimony on Friday and Monday from accountant Cynthia Laporta, who described how Manafort and Gates doctored financial statements and backdated loans.

The jury has heard how Manafort made tens of millions of dollars for work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

Laporta thought that was odd, so she asked Gates for information about the $2.4 million Manafort was supposedly owed.

This courtroom sketch depicts Rick Gates, right, answering questions by prosecutor Greg Andres as he testifies in the trial of Paul Manafort, seated second from left, at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Monday, Aug. 6, 2018.

Rick Gates called to testify at Paul Manafort’s fraud trial
Similar to prior witnesses, Laporta testified that Gates and Manafort were in lockstep but that Manafort was in charge. In exchange for his plea, Gates agreed to testify against Manafort.

But Mr Manafort is not charged with helping the Kremlin.

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