The Sixth Day of Paul Manafort's Trial Was Indirectly About Donald Trump

The Sixth Day of Paul Manafort's Trial Was Indirectly About Donald Trump

Trump was indirectly referenced in multiple ways throughout the testimony, highlighting the risks to the president of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Gates said under questioning Wednesday that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work. He also testified that he pressed the firm's accountants to reclassify loans as income so the company could qualify for more bank loans or get favorable lending rates.

Both Gates and Manafort were indicted last October by a federal grand jury on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the U.S. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He scoffed at the idea that Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Manafort. That admission came during a line of questioning from the defense about the $2.7 million to $3 million Gates admitted he embezzled from Manafort. They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury.

In prosecutors' questioning, then in a combative cross-examination from the defense team, Gates revealed the extent to which he had siphoned money from his boss and committed a host of other misdeeds. The funds were logged as loans in order to meet later audits in Cyprus that required documentation of transfers between bank accounts. He said there were 15 secret accounts.

Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man, " to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme.

Prosecutors will likely draw Gates back to those facts and away from his own misbehavior on redirect examination.

Manafort to Gates in 2016, doctoring numbers in a financial statement. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort. Under the deal, he admitted to helping Manafort evade taxes, violate USA lobbying laws, and hide foreign bank accounts.


The prosecution produced an undated email exchange between Mr Manafort and Mr Gates which outlines the amount of tax the campaign chief might have to pay.

The tax and bank fraud charges in the current trial - the first of two Manafort is scheduled to face - however, have nothing to do with Manafort's work on the Trump campaign.

Cindy Laporta testified Friday in the government's case against the former Trump campaign chairman, saying she went along with the scam because she was anxious Manafort and his right-hand-man Rick Gates would sue. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.

After saying Monday that he committed crimes with Manafort, including concealing offshore accounts to avoid reporting them to the US government at tax time and claiming false income to get loans, Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing asked the witness, "This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?" Trump often boasts that he hires "the best people", and the sixth day of the trial showcased two people who worked for him, one who allegedly tried to use his influence in Trump's circle to boost someone he had a sketchy financial relationship with, and another who admitted under oath that he may have stolen money from Trump's inaugural committee.

"Mr Downing, I've made many mistakes over many years", said Gates, before being cut off by the judge, who snapped: "This isn't the time for that".

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out that he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort".

During cross-examination on Tuesday, the defense painted Gates as living a "secret life" in London and accused him of embezzling money from Manafort's foreign accounts at center of the trial to indulge in an extramarital affair in the United Kingdom. He also committed credit card and mortgage fraud, falsified a letter for a colleague involved in an investment deal and made false statements in a deposition at Manafort's direction.

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