Gates on the witness stand | LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

In testimony Tuesday Rick Gates detailed various schemes he engaged in while working for Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort collected more than $65 million in foreign accounts for his Ukrainian political work from 2010-2014 and spent more than $15 million in the same period on real estate, landscaping, home improvement and luxury items like his ostrich and python jackets, an Federal Bureau of Investigation witness told jurors on Wednesday. Gates has already pled guilty to two counts in Mueller's probe and testified against Manafort as part of a plea deal with the special counsel's office.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Mr Gates to come clean about his own crimes. Did Gates, Andres asked, have any doubt that the special counsel would "rip up your plea agreement" if he lied on the stand?

According to a court transcript, Downing had agreed in a conference on Tuesday with the judge and prosecutors not to raise the subject with Gates, a longtime business partner of Manafort's.

Manafort's defense attorneys have attempted to pin responsibility on Gates for the wrongdoing Manafort is charged with. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat.

Gates added that Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads-up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the USA government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

By that time, Gates was working on Trump's inaugural committee. It's the first trial to emerge from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any of Trump's associates conspired with those efforts, though Manafort's case is not about those issues.

Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

As he has repeatedly noted, President Donald Trump is not directly implicated in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial.

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Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing got in a final shot, raising the possibility Gates had not one, but four extramarital affairs.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, said that in Downing's remaining hour of cross-examination on Wednesday, he needs to keep painting Gates as an unreliable person who can not be trusted.

Wednesday's drama comes after Gates spent large chunks of Monday and Tuesday on the stand detailing a long list of crimes he and Manafort committed, sometimes together, sometimes separately.

Rick Gates, Manafort's long-time deputy, acknowledged having made "many mistakes over many years" but insisted he was telling the court the truth about the alleged financial misdeeds of his former boss. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.

At times, Ellis has also sided against the defense team, such as when he didn't require former Manafort deputy Rick Gates to answer a question on Wednesday about whether he had four extramarital affairs, not just the one he disclosed the day before. He was aware that Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine, he said.

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income. A bookkeeper said she helped disguise foreign income as a loan to reduce Manafort's tax burden.

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort".

Manafort and Gates hid the fact that one property had a mortgage against it and falsely claimed that another property was a second residence for Manafort and his daughter, James said. When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony.

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