Gates says Manafort told him to be truthful to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's criminal trial had a sole, sensational focus on its sixth day: Rick Gates, his longtime deputy and right-hand man, testified against him for more than six hours.

In testimony Tuesday, Gates acknowledged embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and carrying on an extramarital 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.

Paul Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, is on the stand for the third straight day in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial as prosecutors and defense lawyers wage their battle over Gates' credibility. The defense asserted in its opening statement that Gates could have committed the bank fraud, tax fraud and foreign banking crimes that form Manafort's charges.

The aggressive questioning was aimed at shifting blame from Manafort onto Gates, who pleaded guilty in Mueller's investigation and agreed to cooperate with investigators by testifying in the financial fraud trial.

But on Wednesday, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing seemed to accuse Gates of having affairs with multiple individuals, asking Gates whether he disclosed four affairs to the special counsel's office. 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. "You told me you were on top of this", he wrote Gates in April 2015.

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During the first two days of his testimony, Gates admitted to shielding millions of dollars in over a dozen offshore accounts from United States tax collections - all at Manafort's direction.

These statements serve to build up the prosecutors' case against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, as Manafort is accused of bank and tax fraud. But he was consistent in saying he was now telling the truth and that there was a "strong record" to support his key assertions: that Manafort directed him to hide money from the IRS and fake financial documents to get bank loans.

According to Gates, Manafort, who had by then left the campaign, asked Gates in various ways to use his position on Trump's team to do favors for Stephen Calk, a banker who had loaned Manafort millions of dollars - loans that Mueller's team alleges were consummated under false pretenses.

As well as being a senior aide on Trump's election campaign, Gates served as the deputy chairman of the U.S. president's inaugural committee.

Those who dealt with Manafort's taxes also testified that even though they asked Manafort whether he maintained any bank accounts overseas, he told them no.

Asked if he got any personal benefit from Mr Manafort's falsified loan applications, Gates responded: "No, I did not".

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Gates says Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the USA government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

And there were Manafort's emails, which prosecutors showed to the courtroom. Walter Mack, Brown's lawyer, declined comment. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.

In prosecutors' questioning, then in a combative cross-examination from the defense team, Gates revealed the extent to which he had siphoned money from his boss and committed a host of other misdeeds.

Both Gates and Manafort were indicted last October by a federal grand jury on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the U.S. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday.

More recently, after the launch of the Mueller investigation but before his plea bargain, Gates lied to the FBI about a meeting between Manafort and an unnamed US Congressman regarding a "specific issue".

Trump admits to misconduct in Trump Tower meeting
At the time , Trump and his White House had falsely claimed that he had only offered his input into the crafting of the statement. In June 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

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