War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

Thursday, 09 Aug, 2018

An IRS agent revealed that Paul Manafort had at least $16 million in unreported taxable business income over four years while testifying during the former Trump campaign chairman's trial for tax and bank fraud on Wednesday.

In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, saying the two had committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents. Prosecutors allege Manafort used various ways to hide his income, including wiring money from Ukraine to the United States via a bank in Cyprus and listing it as a loan, and laundering almost $1 million through the purchases of Oriental rugs. In one case, she alleged that foreign accounts were used by Manafort to pay for more than $3.5 million in home improvements.

More than $15 million of that went to personal purchases, like ostrich and python skin jackets, a dining room renovation, flower beds in the Hamptons and a karaoke machine, the IRS and Federal Bureau of Investigation employees testified.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans.

Testimony resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET in Alexandria, Virginia, and the government is expected to rest by Friday. Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to cooperate in Mueller's investigation of Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea.

Paul Manafort (L), former campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump, in Washington, DC, U.S., December 11, 2017, and Rick Gates, former campaign aide to Trump, in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2017 are pictured in this combination photograph.

"I'm not happy with this judge", Napolitano said on Fox News.

"Do you remember telling the office of the special counsel you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?"

His defence team is seeking to pin the blame on Gates, who they say was responsible for day-to-day operations of the business.

But the grilling got more intense, and personal, when Mr Downing pressed Mr Gates about a "secret life" he said was funded by embezzlement, including an extra-marital affair that Mr Gates himself acknowledged.

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Although the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation are not at issue in this trial, any significant blows to the government's case are likely be seized on by the president's defenders, including conservative media, to support his contention that Mueller's investigation is a "rigged witch-hunt". "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.

Lawyers for Mr Manafort are determined to impugn the credibility of Mr Gates. They made a mistake when they confirmed me. 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.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents.

Prosecutors called Morgan Magionos, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant, as the next witness to testify.

Gates also said that when their political work in Ukraine dried up in 2015, Manafort had difficulty paying his bills and had no other clients at that time.

"There is a period of time over 10 years ago when I had a relationship, yes", Gates said. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

Gates' testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years.

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".

But prosecutor Greg Andres followed up by suggesting that Gates and Manafort were not fully truthful.