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

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's criminal trial had a sole, sensational focus on its sixth day: Rick Gates, his longtime deputy and right-hand man, testified against him for more than six hours.

Gates embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing exaggerated - and at times, completely fabricated - expense reports, Downing forced him to admit Tuesday.

Manafort's lawyer suggested that the affair - which included a London pad, first-class plane trips and luxury hotels - cost up to $3 million.

Paul Manafort was concerned after a 2014 Federal Bureau of Investigation interview that one of the companies used to pay the former Trump campaign chairman for his Ukrainian political consulting work wasn't "clean".

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

"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort".

Manafort, seated at the defence table, stared intently at Gates while his defence attorney hammered him with aggressive questions, but his former business partner carefully avoided his gaze.

But on Wednesday, Manafort attorney Kevin Downing seemed to accuse Gates of having affairs with multiple individuals, asking Gates whether he disclosed four affairs to the special counsel's office. This kept the scheme mostly hidden from accountants and bookkeepers-though immunized witness Cynthia Laporta earlier testified that she had her doubts about the veracity of Manafort's and Gates's representations surrounding the loans.

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Gates also said that he did not report 15 foreign offshore bank accounts to the government. Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate. After Yanukovych lost power in 2014, "I would say it decreased the income stream", Gates, wearing a blue suit, told the court matter-of-factly.

On Wednesday, Gates initially testified Manafort told him to be truthful during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation about offshore shell companies and bank accounts that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.

Manafort, who served briefly as Trump's campaign manager in 2016, has pleaded not guilty. The funds were logged as loans in order to meet later audits in Cyprus that required documentation of transfers between bank accounts.

According to Gates, Manafort, who had by then left the campaign, asked Gates in various ways to use his position on Trump's team to do favors for Stephen Calk, a banker who had loaned Manafort millions of dollars - loans that Mueller's team alleges were consummated under false pretenses.

Gates says that Manafort asked him to meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen involved in paying him millions of dollars to find out if one of the shell companies used to pay him was a "clean entity". Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutor Greg Andres objected to the question before Gates could answer. When Gates had prepared the transaction, he would run the final logistics by Manafort.

Gates laying out a roadmap on how he and Manafort allegedly dodged US taxes. after admitting Monday they committed numerous crimes as business partners. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort. Prosecutors allege that the bank lent Manafort money based on fraudulent documents, and that Calk was named an adviser to the campaign and sought the Army post as part of a quid pro quo.

And Gates faced fraud charges from the special counsel after it discovered he had written a letter to a Swiss movie production company falsely claiming that his own production company was investing in a film project by his friend, Steve Brown.

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