Trump aide was committing tax crimes for years - star witness
Trump aide was committing tax crimes for years - star witness
Joshua Roberts Reuters
In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort
09 August, 2018, 08:23
In a blistering back-and forth, Paul Manafort's lawyer suggested Tuesday that the star witness in the former Trump campaign chairman's financial fraud trial has told "so many lies" he can't remember all of them.
Day seven of the Paul Manafort trial took a technical turn Wednesday, an indication that prosecutors could be wrapping up their case against the former Trump campaign chairman.
"If it doesn't say Men's Warehouse, then I don't know it", Ellis said after learning the pronunciation of the "House of Bijan", where Manafort bought some particularly high-end goods.
"The only answer I was told was to tell the truth", Gates replied.
Paul Manafort hid more than 30 offshore accounts in three types of currencies from the IRS, according to an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant testifying in the former Trump campaign chairman's trial.
Paul Manafort's former "right-hand man" admitted Tuesday that he embezzled from their consulting firm, engaged in fraud, lied to the special counsel, and conducted an worldwide extramarital affair.
Gates said that even while he was committing crimes with his boss he was stealing from him, creating false bills to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Cyprus accounts.
Gates, who had been on stand for more than seven hours by conclusion of Tuesday's testimony, is anticipated to be on stand for an additional hour more of cross-examination, according to Manafort's attorneys.
Prosecutor Greg Andres had objected to the defense using the affair against Gates, saying the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled "that if somebody cheats on their wife or whatever, it's not necessarily indicative of truthfulness".
Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been a distraction for a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to publicly fume about Mueller's investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin.
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 USA taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.
"I acknowledge I had a period of time when I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married and has four children.
He testified under terms of a deal with Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who's investigating suspected collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential election. In one case, she alleged that foreign accounts were used by Manafort to pay for more than $3.5 million in home improvements.
Downing also asked Gates if he had submitted personal expenses to President Donald Trump's inaugural committee.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis has repeatedly prodded them to move swiftly while seemingly giving the defense more latitude. Both sides have agreed to limit discussion of the campaign to avoid prejudicing the jury, though they did permit testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the Trump election effort.
In an email shown to the jury, Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, wrote to Gates on November 24, 2016, "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of Army".
Mr Manafort's trial in Alexandria is the first to arise out the Mueller probe and marks a major public test of that investigation's credibility. He asked a broader question about Gates spending beyond his means to fund a secret life.
And later that year, while trying to get another loan, Manafort himself asked Gates for a version of the firm's 2016 Profit & Loss Statement that could be edited, Gates testified.
Ellis, known for his courtroom humor and occasional scolding of lawyers, has set strict boundaries on Manafort's trial.
The 46-year-old former political consultant told jurors how Manafort asked for tickets to Trump's inauguration so he could give them to a banker involved in approving a loan at the center of his financial fraud trial.
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