Rick Gates admits to committing crimes with Paul Manafort

Saul Bowman
August 7, 2018

Paul Manafort's former associate Rick Gates has admitted that he committed crimes for the onetime Trump campaign manager when he was in his employ.

"Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?" a prosecutor on special counsel Robert Mueller's team asked Gates, the key witness in the charges brought against Manafort. Gates said that, at the direction of his boss, he helped Manafort falsify his tax returns, failed to report 15 foreign bank accounts, and did not register Manafort as a foreign agent, as is required by law.

The jury heard how Mr Manafort made tens of millions of dollars for political work with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

Manafort is on trial in Virginia for various financial crimes he was charged with as part of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's ongoing investigation.

A lawyer for Manafort had said in court Monday afternoon that Gates, who is Manafort's longtime deputy and is regarded as the government's star witness, would be the next witness up.

Prosecutors allege that Manafort financed a lavish lifestyle featuring sumptuous residences and extravagant wardrobes by using millions of dollars in profits that he hid from tax authorities then turned to bank fraud when his income started to dry up.

Downing will probably focus on Laporta's interactions with Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller.


Some of the manoeuvrers were at the request of Mr Gates, while others implicated Mr Manafort, Ms Laporta testified.

Manafort's attorneys have sought to blame Gates for the financial crimes, in addition to embezzling money from Manafort. Gates also worked for the Trump election campaign.

Prosecutors have been preparing for this credibility battle by asking a number of witnesses speak to Manafort's role as a supervisor over Gates.

In a court filing on Monday, prosecutors said they may call Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountants Morgan Magionos and Renee Michael to read from Manafort's emails. When Robert Mueller began investigating Russian interference a year ago, Manafort's questionable lobbying work - the sort of activity that has historically rarely been investigated in Washington - was put under a microscope, exposing him and his associates.

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

On Friday, a tax preparer named Cindy Laporta admitted that she helped disguise $900,000 in foreign income as a loan in order to reduce Manafort's tax burden.

One accounting trick saved Mr Manafort $US500,000 ($676,907) in taxes, she said.

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