Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Rick Gates, 23 Emails and a Turning Point in the Manafort Trial

Rick Gates, 23 Emails and a Turning Point in the Manafort Trial

Rick Gates on Monday took the stand in the federal fraud case against his former business partner, ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, testifying that he committed crimes while working for Manafort.

"Were you involved in criminal activity when you worked for Paul Manafort?".

"Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?" the prosecutor asked.

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The former Trump campaign chairman has pleaded not guilty to several counts of bank fraud, tax evasion and money laundering, among others, related to his work as a pro-Russia lobbyist in Ukraine.

"It's kind of leading up to Gates" testimony that, "Yep, this is what he was telling me to do, '" the former USA prosecutor said.

Attorneys representing Manafort have built their defense argument around Gates, painting him as the true culprit behind their client's alleged crimes and asserting that Manafort's only mistake was "placing his trust in the wrong person", referring to Gates.

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Gates served as Manafort's business partner for almost a decade until 2016, when the two joined the Trump campaign for president.

While Gates already pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy against the United States and lying to the FBI, Monday's testimony marked his first time stating he committed crimes with another former Trump associate.

He testified that Mr Manafort had directed him to lower taxable income by reporting overseas income as loans, according to USA media. Similar to prior witnesses, Laporta testified that Gates and Manafort were in lockstep but that Manafort was in charge. Another special counsel prosecutor, Greg Andres, later clarified that prosecutors had "every intention" of calling Gates to the stand. Laporta, looking at a summary of loans to Manafort and his businesses, said she could not see any indication that the loan from Deripaska had been paid off.

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When asked who was in charge in the relationship, Manafort's longtime tax accountant Phillip Ayliff told the jury: "Oh - Mr. Manafort". The effect of the loan was to reduce Manafort's income by that amount and reduce his taxes, she said.

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