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

Elias Hubbard
August 9, 2018

Gates said that Manafort asked him to meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen involved in paying him millions of dollars to find out if one of the shell companies used to pay him was a "clean entity". The prosecutors and judge stopped Gates from answering the question, yet he still ended his testimony by saying he had "made many mistakes over many years".

The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess. Afterward, Downing dropped the Trump-related line of questioning, moving on to other topics without explanation.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign. They say his outburst prejudiced the jury by suggesting they had acted improperly. The grand total of Manafort's payments from his offshore accounts to vendors and for properties came out to $15.5 million over the course of 2010-2014, according to Magionos.

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?"

During cross examination, Manafort's attorneys pointed out Gates' extramarital affairs, including a woman in London who may have had a hand in the financial crimes Gates to which admitted, Politico reported. Downing had said he wanted to ask the question because it spoke to whether Gates had lied to Mueller's office, and whether Gates' plea agreement would still be valid.

Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing asked whether Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy.

Gates then left the witness stand.

Gates laying out a roadmap on how he and Manafort allegedly dodged USA taxes. after admitting Monday they committed numerous crimes as business partners.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans". Gates was also listed as an owner of several of the accounts.

Gates, also a former Trump campaign aide, has claimed during three days of evidence that he both stole for and stole from Manafort, who denies 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. "Mr. Manafort had the same path".

Rick Gates, who also served in a senior role in President Donald Trump's campaign, has been a key cooperator for special counsel Robert Mueller's team after he cut a plea deal earlier this year.

Paul Manafort collected more than $65 million in foreign accounts for his Ukrainian political work from 2010-2014 and spent more than $15 million in the same period on real estate, landscaping, home improvement and luxury items like his ostrich and python jackets, an Federal Bureau of Investigation witness told jurors on Wednesday. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts".

Both Manafort and Gates were indicted previous year on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Regarding a trading company Manafort had started with a partner in 2011, he asked with deep scepticism: "You're asking the jury to believe Mr Manafort authorised another US$250,000 as a bonus?" Prosecutors say they hope to reach their finale by Friday.

It was a long day of drama between the former business associates, who didn't appear to meet each other's eyes in the courtroom.

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington, Feb. 23, 2018. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.

At the time he worked for Trump, jurors heard, Manafort's business in Ukraine had always been dried up, and his firm didn't have any clients.

The testimony bolsters the prosecution's tax-evasion case against Manafort. When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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