Gates wraps testimony, says he made 'mistakes'

08 August, 2018, 20:31 | Author: Angel Logan
  • H2 collusion

On his second day on the stand in the trial of his former business partner, political consultant and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates testified that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort pressed for a secretary of the Army appointment for one of the lenders who had given him money despite falsified income information on the documents.

He also admitted to embezzling "several hundred thousand" dollars from Manafort including funds used to finance a London apartment to engage in an extra-marital affair.

Manafort's lawyer suggested that the affair - which included a London pad, first-class plane trips and luxury hotels - cost up to $3 million.

The tough questioning of Gates came after he spent hours telling jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill.

Earlier Tuesday, Gates told the court that Manafort would frequently pay for clothing, landscaping and other personal expenses using wire transfers directly from his bank accounts in Cyprus and others in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this".

If convicted on all counts, Manafort could face eight to 10 years in prison based on federal sentencing guidelines, according to sentencing expert Justin Paperny.

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 United States taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

The accountant testified she was unaware if the loan was recognized as income or ever paid back. Gates also fabricated a forgiveness letter for what he said was already a fake loan between Manafort's consulting company and a Cypriot entity he controlled. He also admitted to embezzling money from other employers in the past.

Gates was indicted alongside Manafort in October, but he later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of conspiracy against the USA and lying to the FBI as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

"I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said in response to a question from Downing about his trustworthiness.

Much of Gates' testimony focused on laying out the multiple moving parts within Manafort's alleged overarching scheme to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars worth of income.

Rick Gates has finished his testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss, Paul Manafort, after one last effort by defense lawyers to erode his credibility.

Prosecutors had intentionally left many of these pieces of evidence blank on an itemized list of documents they are presenting in court, signaling they could be the most sensational and attention-grabbing files in the evidence binder. "Mr Manafort had the same path".

On Tuesday, Gates did connect one part of the bank fraud charges against Manafort to his role in the Trump campaign.

Gates testified that he'd followed Manafort's instructions as they set up Cypriot and other foreign bank accounts, moved money from Ukrainians into the U.S., made sure Manafort's name was scrubbed from the accounts, then lied to the IRS and banks. When Gates had prepared the transaction, he would run the final logistics by Manafort.

By that time, Gates was working on Trump's inaugural committee.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Gates to come clean about his own crimes.

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

And there were Manafort's emails, which prosecutors showed to the courtroom. He frequently used the phrases "It's possible" and "I don't recall" as Downing challenged him about inconsistencies in testimony he gave to the special counsel's office.

Andres followed up: "Did Mr Manafort know?"

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