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

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington. Paul Manafort’s trial opened this week with a display of his opulent lifestyle and testimony about what prosecutors say were years of financial deception. But the

Gates is also admitting to carrying out a vast scheme to hide millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf.

According to multiple news outlets, Gates was asked on Monday if he was involved in criminal activity when working with Manafort.

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates took the stand Monday to testify against his former boss, Paul Manafort, who's been charged with tax fraud and bank fraud in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

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.

Jurors will hear again Monday from Cynthia Laporta, an accountant who testified August 3 about going along with phony, backdated documents meant to help lower Manafort's tax bills and secure real-estate loans even as his personal debt rose. For instance, on Monday, after federal financial crimes specialist Paula Liss testified that neither Manafort nor his wife had reported foreign bank accounts to her agency, FinCEN, defense attorney Tom Zehnle asked her if a person owning less than 51 percent of a company would need to report those accounts.

Gates, who is cooperating with prosecutors in the trial of Trump's former campaign chairman, testified that Manafort directed him to report overseas income as loans in order to lower his taxable income.

He is awaiting sentencing and his ability to secure leniency from the government depends on him being cooperative and forthcoming with the jury. 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. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he had been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Trump shoots at LeBron
LeBron James thinks President Trump is using athletics, and athletes, to split up the country. Trump was so passionate about his take that he managed to get James' name wrong twice.

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

The government's star witness in the trial of Paul Manafort admits he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the former Trump campaign chairman.

Since the trial started before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis last Tuesday, Manafort's lawyers have kept their cross-examinations brief and at times refrained from attempting to rebut damaging testimony in detail. He has played those roles throughout the trial, repeatedly scolding prosecutors to rein in their depictions of Manafort's lavish lifestyle and demanding that they "move it along".

The jury has heard how Manafort made tens of millions of dollars for political work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. Later, they say, when that income dwindled, Manafort launched a different scheme, shoring up his struggling finances by using doctored documents to obtain millions more in bank loans. The effect of the loan was to reduce Manafort's income by that amount and reduce his taxes, she said.

Gates testified that he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the USA government, and knew that was illegal. Mr Gates was Mr Manafort's partner in the consultancy.

Prosecutors said they still have about three hours of questions for Gates. He said on Monday that, "at Mr. Manafort's request", he lied to Manafort's accountants about Manafort's control over certain foreign accounts.

When they appeared, the bookkeeper and accountants said, they thought the companies were clients or, in some cases, lenders.

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