War Of Credibility Over Rick Gates Continues In Paul Manafort Fraud Trial

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The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess. Both sides agreed ahead of time to limit discussion of the campaign so as not to prejudice the jury, though they had agreed to allow testimony about the overlap of a bank loan with Manafort's role in the campaign. Prosecutors allege that he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in. Gates testified that he'd followed Manafort's instructions as they set up Cypriot and other foreign bank accounts, moved money from Ukrainians into the USA, made sure Manafort's name was scrubbed from the accounts, then lied to the IRS and banks.

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. "You know. Yeah, because on the one hand Gates stole money from him but on the other hand he clearly learned everything that Manafort taught him". He scoffed at the idea that Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Manafort. They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury.

And those entities, Gates testified, never once did any sort of actual business-they were simply a vehicle for Manafort's funds to escape detection. The funds were logged as loans in order to meet later audits in Cyprus that required documentation of transfers between bank accounts.

Gates said he and Manafort turned to a Cypriot lawyer, whom he referred to in court as "Dr K", who set up bank accounts and shell companies on Manafort's behalf and "handled everything". Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Trump's presidential campaign. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises".

As part of his plea agreement to cooperate with prosecutors, Gates also admitted to lying to investigators from the special counsel's office - a fact Downing also seized upon.

The case has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump election effort coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort.

Gates said that he helped fabricate documents to convert some income to a loan to lower Manafort's tax bill.

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And later that year, while trying to get another loan, Manafort himself asked Gates for a version of the firm's 2016 Profit & Loss Statement that could be edited, Gates testified.

Gates, who was working on Trump's transition team, testified that Manafort had suggested Stephen Calk as a candidate for Army secretary two weeks after Trump was elected. However, the Manafort case - as President Donald Trump has been quick to point out - focuses on Manafort's business dealings and has no direct connection to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

The charges largely predate the five months Manafort spent on Trump's campaign.

In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts, " Gates said during his second day of testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss.

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday.

"Mr. Manafort requested. that we did not disclose foreign bank accounts", Gates testified.

Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Manafort also included Calk on a list he emailed to Gates of people he wanted to invite to Trump's inauguration. "Mr Manafort had the same path". Gates did not have a chance to respond to those allegations Monday.

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