‘Secret life’: Rick Gates forced to reveal affair at Manafort trial

‘Secret life’: Rick Gates forced to reveal affair at Manafort trial

‘Secret life’: Rick Gates forced to reveal affair at Manafort trial

U.S. President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates will take the stand for a third day on Wednesday, after admitting he stole money from his former boss Paul Manafort and helped falsify documents to avoid taxes.

Rick Gates, the government's star witness who wrapped up his testimony Wednesday, implicated Manafort and himself in financial crimes while also enduring stinging attacks on his credibility and character. Prosecutors allege Manafort used various ways to hide his income, including wiring money from Ukraine to the United States via a bank in Cyprus and listing it as a loan, and laundering almost $1 million through the purchases of Oriental rugs. A bookkeeper said she helped disguise foreign income as a loan to reduce Manafort's tax burden. Those two potential witnesses come from Federal Savings Bank, whose CEO and chairman overlooked Manafort's fraud in hopes of getting a job in the Trump administration, according to prosecutors from the Special Counsel's Office.

Testimony resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET in Alexandria, Virginia, and the government is expected to rest by Friday. He pleaded guilty to charges in February and is cooperating for the possibility of a reduced sentence.

Neither were charged in connection with their Trump campaign work.

"I think he has to keep hammering at the point that Gates is not a credible witness and he can't be believed", he said.

Manafort's defense team says it was actually Gates who committed the financial crimes, without Manafort knowing, and Manafort's lawyers also have sought to exploit the guilty plea that Gates has accepted after he was indicted on related charges.

It's a practice he has admitted to doing to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort, and under pressure from Downing, he agreed that it could be called embezzlement. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.

Gates said he helped Manafort hide secret bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Cyprus and the Grenadines.

"I'm here. I'm trying to change", he said.

Downing seized on those admissions to try and cast doubt on whether the jury can trust Gates' claims that he only carried out the fraud alleged by prosecutors at Manafort's behest.

Gates, who is married and has four children, acknowledged having had a "relationship" a decade ago and admitted to stealing from his boss during a "difficult time" in his life by inflating personal expenses. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. And Manafort made millions of dollars working as a political consultant for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine before he worked for the Trump campaign, which could raise questions about Trump's friendly rhetoric towards the country.

If he is too tough, Rossi said, the jury might "start to feel sorry for the prosecution".

Still, that testimony has provided jurors with a damning account as Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years.

"Yes, because I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates replied.

In one exchange published in court Wednesday, Manafort instructs his Cypriot lawyer, Kypros Chrysostomides - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because, according to Gates, his name is hard to spell and pronounce - to transfer money from the Manafort-controlled Leviathan Ltd.

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