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Gates testifies he and Manafort committed crimes

07 August 2018

Gates says that when millions of dollars came in from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting work, Manafort would decide whether to classify it as income or a loan.

Gates said that he did all of those crimes "at the direction of Mr. Manafort", CNN reported.

According to multiple news outlets, Gates was asked on Monday if he was involved in criminal activity when working with Manafort. Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct, calling him a liar and embezzler.

In the beginning of a hugely anticipated courtroom showdown, Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports.

He is awaiting sentencing and his ability to secure leniency from the government depends on him being cooperative and forthcoming with the jury.

The testimony comes hours after Manafort's defense attorneys accused Gates of embezzling as they sought to paint Gates as an untrustworthy witness.

"Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?" the prosecutor asked.

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Some of the maneuvers were at the request of Gates, while others implicated Manafort, Laporta testified. Gates also worked for the Trump election campaign.

Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Mr Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. Last week, another Manafort attorney, Thomas Zehnle, depicted Gates as a liar who embezzled millions of dollars while going behind his boss's back. He has played those roles throughout the trial, repeatedly scolding prosecutors to rein in their depictions of Manafort's lavish lifestyle and demanding that they "move it along". They were the first two people indicted by Mueller's grand jury.

The government's star witness took the stand Monday in the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of the Trump presidential campaign.

The jury had heard testimony on Friday and Monday from accountant Cynthia Laporta, who described how Manafort and Gates doctored financial statements and backdated loans. Lawyers then met privately with the judge for a bench conference.

Prosecutors on Monday went through a list of overseas corporations and Gates testified that all of them were controlled by Manafort and contained income earned by his political consulting work.

But Ms Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Mr Manafort, legal experts said. Downing made the comment in court.

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In court today, prosecutors walked Gates through his plea agreement and the charges he had faced before he pleaded guilty and began cooperating with the government.

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

Gates has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe after he cut a plea deal earlier this year.

"It's kind of leading up to Gates" testimony that, "Yep, this is what he was telling me to do, '" the former US prosecutor said.

It's important to note that some of the alleged bank fraud did occur while Manafort was running the Trump campaign.

Rick Gates has been a key cooperator for special counsel Robert Mueller's team after he cut a plea deal earlier this year. Gates agreed to flip on his former boss in exchange for leniency.

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Gates testifies he and Manafort committed crimes