Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

Special counsel Robert Mueller's star witness took the stand on Monday in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, capping a week of contradictory messages from the Mueller team about whether Rick Gates would testify against his former boss.

Prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates if he conducted criminal activity with Manafort and if he had committed crimes with Manafort.

Gates, who also served in a senior role in Donald Trump's presidential campaign, is expected to face aggressive cross-examination once prosecutors are finished questioning him.

Manafort, a flamboyant figure in Washington for decades, became known for his consulting and lobbying work for ethically questionable global leaders like Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovych.

Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's former business partner, is expected to testify in federal court Monday.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 bank and tax fraud charges and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

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But defense lawyers are trying to convince the jury that Manafort was consumed by his consulting business and left the particulars of his finances to professionals and, in particular, to Gates. Rick Gates became the first member of the Trump campaign to publicly admit to crimes.

Manafort's defense hinges on convincing a jury that it was Gates, not Manafort, who committed all of these crimes, and that Manafort is a victim of Gates. When a banker asked about $1.5 million debt that Manafort's company owed to a Cyrus entity called Peranova Holdings Limited, Gates produced a backdated document showing it was forgiven. 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.

Similar to prior witnesses, Ms Laporta testified Mr Gates and Mr Manafort were in lockstep but that Mr Manafort was in charge.

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.

PHOTO: Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington.

But she said she was under the impression that Mr Manafort had been directing his deputies' actions and "knew what was going on".

Earlier Monday, Ellis threatened to kick reporters out of the courtroom if they continue being "disruptive".

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