Rick Gates testifies he and Manafort conspired to commit fraud
Rick Gates on Monday took the stand in the federal fraud case against his former organization partner, ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, testifying that he and Manafort conspired to commit bank and tax fraud.
&ldquoWere you involved in criminal activity when you worked for Paul Manafort?&rdquo federal prosecutor Greg Andres asked the witness.
&ldquoYes,&rdquo Gates replied.
&ldquoDid you commit a crime?&rdquo Andres asked.
&ldquoYes,&rdquo Gates mentioned.
Manafort, facing charges of bank and tax fraud related to his perform in Ukraine, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Gates, regarded a star witness against Manafort, struck a plea deal with prosecutors to cooperate in the case against his former enterprise partner. The generally bearded Gates appeared in court clean-shaven on Monday.
In the course of his testimony, Gates study out loud the language from his indictment charging him with conspiracy and making false statements to the government.
&ldquoWho did you conspire with?&rdquo the prosecutor asked.
&ldquoPaul Manafort,&rdquo Gates replied.
Gates testified that he and Manafort beneath-reported revenue and failed to file FBAR, or Foreign Bank Account Report, types.
Gates mentioned that Manafort requested &ldquoover the years&rdquo that Gates make wire transfers from foreign accounts &ldquoprimarily in Cyprus,&rdquo and these funds were not reported.
Gates also testified that he lied to Manafort&rsquos bookkeeper and accountants.
He replied &ldquoyes&rdquo when asked if he knew it was a crime not to file those reports.
His testimony is critical for prosecutors: The federal judge in the trial, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, stated in court final week they &ldquocan&rsquot prove conspiracy&rdquo in the case unless prosecutors get in touch with Gates to the stand. Ellis issued that warning following prosecutors suggested Gates might not be named to the stand right after all.
During opening arguments final week, the defense group made it clear they intend to blame Gates, who handled some day-to-day organization operations for Manafort, for several of the alleged reporting deficiencies Manafort is charged with.
&ldquoRick Gates had his hand in the cookie jar and couldn&rsquot let his boss locate out,&rdquo Manafort defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said in the course of opening arguments.
Prosecutors have introduced a bevy of exhibits and are in the method of calling several witnesses as component of their work to paint Manafort as a tax scofflaw who failed to report income spent on luxury things — then lied to get bank loans when his foreign consulting perform dried up.
The judge in the Paul Manafort trial reminded prosecutors on Friday of the higher bar for conviction — that they have to prove the former Trump campaign chairman knowingly violated tax and bank laws associated to his political perform overseas.
Manafort served as chairman of Trump&rsquos presidential campaign for the duration of the summer season of 2016, and was forced out in August of that year amid news stories about his ties to then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Earlier Monday, Ellis threatened to kick reporters out of the courtroom if they continue becoming &ldquodisruptive.&rdquo
&ldquoIf you trigger a disruption, I will have you excluded!&rdquo Ellis mentioned.
MANAFORT CASE JUDGES ADMONISHES &lsquoDISRUPTIVE&rsquo REPORTERS For the duration of TRIAL
The warning came after numerous reporters rushed out of the courtroom at the identical time Monday soon after it was announced that Gates would testify Monday.
Under rules, reporters covering the trial cannot use phones or laptops in the courtroom and have to go outside to transmit news from inside.
Ellis, a 78-year-old Reagan-appointed judge, is known for his colorful comments.
Fox News&rsquo Serafin Gomez, Jake Gibson and The Related Press contributed to this report.
Published at Mon, 06 Aug 2018 21:30:00 +0000