Trump’s Ex-Advisor Rick Gates Testifies He Committed Crimes With Paul Manafort

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Gates, 46, is already facing up to five years in prison under the terms of a plea deal he struck with prosecutors in February when he pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gates also said he lied in a lawsuit deposition years ago, after Manafort "asked me not to include" certain things in the deposition.

Ellis said all that's relevant is that Manafort was paid and whether he hid the income from the IRS.

"At Mr. Manafort's request, at different points in the year, we did not disclose the foreign bank accounts", Gates said.

He told jurors on Monday that he had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort and that the two had committed crimes together.

But Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man", is expected to provide the most damning testimony about Manafort's state of mind as well as his own role in the crimes.

Gates' testimony began on Monday and will likely continue into Tuesday, when Manafort's defense attorneys will cross-examine him. He also admitted to concealing millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf and to falsifying loan applications and other documents to help Manafort obtain more in bank loans. The charges largely predate his five months on the Trump campaign. While outside the scope of the trial, Mueller is also investigating whether Trump campaign members coordinated with Russian officials, an allegation President Donald Trump denies.

The jury has heard how Manafort made tens of millions of dollars for political work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

"He indicated that the Ukrainian businessmen.had directed him to set up Cyprus accounts because the payments would be coming from Cyprus", Gates said when asked to explain the payment structure. In exchange for his plea, Gates agreed to testify against Manafort. Kilimnik was indicted in the Mueller investigation in June.

In a dramatic and riveting moment in court, Gates testified that he had committed crimes with his former associate.

Rick Gates appeared in a Virginia court as the star witness in the trial of Paul Manafort, who was the chairman of President Trump's 2016 election campaign team.

On Tuesday, Gates also testified about "modified" invoices for payments to USA vendors that he said he created at Manafort's request.

Even as he testified against him, Gates still praised Manafort, describing his former boss as "one of the most politically brilliant strategists I've ever worked with".

Gates, frequently pictured with a thick lumberjack beard at the height of his political power alongside Manafort, entered the courtroom at 4:15 p.m. Monday, clean-shaven and wearing a dark suit and gold tie.

"A lot of these loan agreements are backdated", Gates said.

On Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis repeatedly clashed with prosecutors about the relevance of such testimony and once again urged them to speed things along.

But Ms Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Mr Manafort, legal experts said. Similar to prior witnesses, Laporta testified that Gates and Manafort were in lockstep but that Manafort was in charge. Manafort instructed his bookkeeper to classify it as a loan for tax purposes, though Gates admitted in court that it was not one and Manafort had never received a loan from Lyovochkin.