Paul Manafort trial day 7: Rick Gates cross examination continues

Paul Manafort trial day 7: Rick Gates cross examination continues

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's longtime aide Rick Gates, accused by a Manafort lawyer at Manafort's trial on Tuesday of using business expenses for an affair, admitted to the extramarital relationship.

The case against Manafort has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer. The firm's director was known to Manafort and Gates as "Doctor K". Prosecutors objected and Gates never answered the question.

"I thought it was a lower amount", Gates said Wednesday.

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.

He has already admitted embezzling some funds from Manafort.

"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.

Manafort, 69, is the first defendant to go to court to fight charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

But as soon as Downing asked about "the secret life of Rick Gates", the witness volunteered, "There was a period of time, nearly ten years ago, when I had a relationship, yes".

Gates, who is awaiting sentencing, told jurors that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false expense reports.

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Gates, who also worked on Trump's campaign, is the star witness against Manafort.

Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong effect of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.

While Gates and others have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and legal experts say he may be holding out hopes of a pardon from Trump.

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has interrupted prosecutors throughout the trial to encourage them to speed things along.

Paul Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing on Wednesday asked whether longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy. Gates said he was responsible for collecting all relevant documents for the loan applications. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Although questions tied to the Trump campaign have been severely limited at trial, Manafort remains a central figure in the broader inquiry into the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia, including a 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Russians promised "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and his role in watering down the 2016 Republican Party platform position on Ukraine.

He barked at U.S. Attorney Greg Andres to "focus sharply" - a common refrain of his over the past week - when Andres asked permission for Magionos to testify about charts she put together detailing the flow of money from Manafort's foreign accounts to various vendors in the U.S.

In a tense day in court, the campaign strategist's longtime deputy, Rick Gates, told jurors how the pair were paid by Ukrainian oligarchs for their work as political consultants in the country. She explained how she traced payments for luxury items back to those hidden bank accounts, describing documents from banks and corporations and how the corporate entities and offshore accounts were linked to Manafort. He testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, concealing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

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