Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

Rick Gates, the former associate to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, testified in a Virginia court on Monday that the two men committed crimes together, including willfully evading taxes by not reporting income they put in foreign bank accounts in Cyprus, according to multiple reports from inside the courtroom.

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.

As part of his plea agreement, Gates confessed to "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring with Manafort to commit a bevy of bank and securities fraud, as well as act as an unregistered foreign agent in conjunction with Manafort's work in Ukraine.

Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial government witness ever since he pleaded guilty previous year and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Gates took the stand for the first time on Monday afternoon.

"This is typically the most important testimony that a "flipper" can give prosecutors - an admission that they committed crimes along with the defendant, along with an explanation of how they did it", Mariotti tweeted on Monday.

Manafort's attorneys have signalled they will seek to blame Gates and have accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort.

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Manafort served as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign during the summer of 2016, and was forced out in August of that year amid news stories about his ties to then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

At some point this week, Manafort's former right-hand man, Rick Gates, is expected to take the witness stand.

Gates pleaded guilty in February to a bank fraud conspiracy charge in exchange for testifying against his former boss. Gates will follow the testimony of tax preparer Cindy Laporta, who says she came to suspect Gates was misleading her about Manafort's finances.

"Rick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar and couldn't let his boss find out", Manafort defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said during opening arguments. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

In court on Monday, Gates testified that he did steal from Manafort.

His testimony represents the biggest test yet for Mueller's investigation even though this case does not directly play into the issue of alleged cooperation by the Trump campaign in Russian election interference.

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