Six bombshells from Rick Gates' testimony in the Paul Manafort trial

Rick Gates is seen on the witness stand as a message between he and his former boss Paul Manafort appears before the court during Manafort's trial in Virginia. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

That's when they reminded the judge that they had already discussed this and thought he had given Welch permission to sit in on testimony.

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade USA taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Mr Gates to come clean about his own crimes. At one point, as Gates had trouble recalling the details of his confession, Downing asked him, "Have they confronted you with so many lies that you can't even remember them?" "Mr. Manafort had the same path". They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury. His defence team is seeking to pin the blame on Gates, who they say was responsible for day-to-day operations of the business.

Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated.

"Those appear to be substantially different, don't they?" defense attorney Richard Westling asked Magionos, showing her Manafort's signatures on a loan application to the Bank of California and one of the foreign banking documents. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.

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Gates did stumble a few times on the stand.

He is the first subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation to stand trial. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Rick Gates, under cross examination at the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of his former boss Paul Manafort, admitted that he had "another relationship" involving first-class flights and luxury hotels, but denied these were funded with money embezzled from Manafort.

Gates also said Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk's name for consideration as Secretary of the Army, a post he ultimately did not get.

The still-secret conversation occurred Tuesday afternoon in the middle of Gates' testimony against Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign.

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"I want people to have a fair price but you can't keep raising the taxes provincially and federally on our product", Ladell said. It appears a 25 cent reduction in the price of a beer will be achieved by lowering the tax.

Gates told the court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he had met with government lawyer Greg Andres and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents 20 times and been told only to tell the truth, without any guarantee that he will be spared prison. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.

Gates ended three days of testimony on Wednesday, after admitting he lied, stole money and cheated on his wife. It's unclear how many witnesses Manafort's defense team will present to the jury.

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.

In applying for the loan, Manafort claimed the property was a second home, but prosecutors introduced as evidence a 2015 tax return indicating the property generated about $100,000 in rental income. After a sidebar with the judge, Downing moved onto another topic.

Instead, Manafort is charged with evading taxes and bank fraud related to the money he made providing political consulting services in Ukraine.

Gates also admitted in the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom to an extramarital affair 10 years ago and keeping an apartment in London, saying he falsified hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense reports because "I was living beyond my means". In addition, he testified, he did not submit the required forms at Manafort's direction.

Manafort Trial Defense Chips Away at Credibility of Star Witness Gates
In one case, she alleged that foreign accounts were used by Manafort to pay for more than $3.5 million in home improvements. Gates, meanwhile, wearing dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, cut a lonely figure at the witness stand, blinking hard.

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