Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates, the former associate to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, testified in a Virginia court on Monday that the two men committed crimes together, including willfully evading taxes by not reporting income they put in foreign bank accounts in Cyprus, according to multiple reports from inside the courtroom.

Asked by prosecutors on Monday who he reported to during that time, Gates answered, "Paul Manafort".

The testimony from Gates, a former adviser to Donald Trump, comes after reaching a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year to testify against his former partner in a lucrative worldwide political consulting firm. When prosecutor Greg Andres asked why, Gates replied: "At Mr. Manafort's direction". Gates was Manafort's partner in the consultancy.

In court on Monday, Gates testified that he did steal from Manafort.

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His testimony is important for prosecutors: The federal judge in the trial, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, said in court last week they "can't prove conspiracy" in the case unless prosecutors call Gates to the stand. Ellis issued that warning after prosecutors suggested Gates might not be called to the stand after all.

That's what the former Trump campaign chairman's "right-hand man", Rick Gates, told jurors in Manafort's financial fraud trial.

Gates did not make eye contact with Manafort as he took the stand wearing a yellow tie and navy blue suit.

Mr Manafort, 69, could spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty of all the fraud charges. It's the first of Mueller's prosecutions to reach a jury, but lawyers have made no mention of President Donald Trump or possible campaign coordination with the Kremlin. The effect of the loan was to reduce Manafort's income by that amount and reduce his taxes, she said.

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Attorney Thomas Zehnle accused Gates of embezzling money from Manafort's consulting firm and said that Gates was now agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors to cover his tracks.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort, legal experts said.

Gates testified that Manafort directed him to report overseas income as loans in order to lower taxable income and that at Manafort's request, did not disclose foreign bank accounts, which is required by law. Manafort attorney Kevin Downing will cross-examine Laporta, who is testifying under an immunity agreement because she feared prosecution for perjury or false statements.

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