Special counsel's star witness testifies he committed crimes with Paul Manafort

Special counsel's star witness testifies he committed crimes with Paul Manafort

Special counsel's star witness testifies he committed crimes with Paul Manafort

Mr Gates, who first met Mr Manafort working for him as an intern fresh out of college, has been described by witnesses as his right-hand man in his multimillion-dollar political consulting business.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

Gates, 46, is already facing up to five years in prison under the terms of a plea deal he struck with prosecutors in February when he pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Manafort faces 18 charges of tax evasion and bank fraud and a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury hands him a guilty verdict. A letter backdated to 2015 was signed by a member of the law firm that ran Manafort's Cypriot accounts, Gates said.

But the prosecution's witnesses have also testified that they generally believed that Gates was carrying out Manafort's wishes when he gave false information to Manafort's accountants.

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

But she said she believed Manafort was directing Gates' efforts to disguise loans and hide income, noting that Manafort was copied on her email traffic with Gates.

Gates will return on Tuesday morning to continue his examination.

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

After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight.

He said he chose to plead guilty and help prosecutors in the hope that they will recommend he serve less than the 57 to 71 months in prison he faces under advisory sentencing guidelines.

Jurors will hear again Monday from Cynthia Laporta, an accountant who testified August 3 about going along with phony, backdated documents meant to help lower Manafort's tax bills and secure real-estate loans even as his personal debt rose.

Laporta, looking at a summary of loans to Manafort and his businesses, said she could not see any indication that the loan from Deripaska had been paid off.

Ellis tried to hurry the prosecution along throughout the day, at one point scolding Andres as he asked Gates about Manafort's political work in Ukraine.

Gates also testified he and Manafort knew it was a crime because they had been notified by Manafort's accountants in emails. But Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to co-operate in Mueller's investigation of Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea.

Though the names of those companies appeared on wire transfers and at times on his bookkeeper's ledger, both Manafort's accountants and his bookkeeper say they never knew that the companies - and corresponding offshore bank accounts - were controlled by Manafort.

Testimony from Mr Manafort's tax preparer continued on Monday.

"When income came into the company, Mr. Manafort directed whether it would be treated as income.or loans", Gates said.

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