Rick Gates Testifies That He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

07 August, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Thomas Zehnle second from right attorney for Paul Manafort walks with other members of the defense team to Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria Va. Monday Aug. 6 2018. Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is on

Rick Gates, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, testified on Monday at his former business partner Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial that he assisted Manafort in filing false tax returns.

"Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?" a prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team asked Gates, the key witness in the charges brought against Manafort.

Speaking at Manafort's trial late that afternoon, Gates bluntly answered the prosecutor's questions.

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The jury has heard how Manafort made tens of millions of dollars for political work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. When a banker asked about $1.5 million debt that Manafort's company owed to a Cyrus entity called Peranova Holdings Limited, Gates produced a backdated document showing it was forgiven. 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.

"Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar, and he couldn't take the risk that his boss might find out", Zehnle said.

Gates pleaded guilty in February to a bank fraud conspiracy charge in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

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Laporta detailed multiple examples in which Manafort and Gates sought to doctor financial records, first in order to lower Manafort's taxable income and then later to inflate his income so that he could get bank loans. 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.

Manafort is on trial this week in a federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, facing charges of evading taxes on more than $60 million of income earned working for Ukrainian politicians.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort, legal experts said.

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But Mr Manafort is not charged with helping the Kremlin.

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