Rick Gates, 23 Emails and a Turning Point in the Manafort Trial

Thomas Zehnle second from right attorney for Paul Manafort walks with other members of the defense team to Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria Va. Monday Aug. 6 2018. Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is on

Rick Gates Set to Testify Against Ex-Boss Paul Manafort

Richard Gates took the stand in former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTrump believes Mueller is using Manafort trial to embarrass him: report Debate rages over Trump tweets and obstruction Five things to know about Manafort's first week in court MORE's trial on Monday, where he testified that the two men committed crimes while working together.

Gates, who also served in a senior role in Donald Trump's presidential campaign, is expected to face aggressive cross-examination once prosecutors are finished questioning him.

Assistant US Attorney Uzo Asonye asked Gates, "Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?" When prosecutor Greg Andres asked why, Gates replied: "At Mr. Manafort's direction".

Gates, whose testimony in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, was continuing, was expected to be a star witness in the government's case, having pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors under a deal that could lead to a reduced sentence.

Ms Laporta detailed multiple examples in which Mr Manafort and Mr Gates sought to doctor financial records, first in order to lower Mr Manafort's taxable income and then later to inflate his income so he could get bank loans.

In the beginning of a hugely anticipated courtroom showdown, Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports. He said he assisted Manafort with a number of loans Manafort was seeking, and that he provided fraudulent and altered documents to support those loans. "He said that he was indicted with Paul Manafort on bank and tax fraud charges, and he is guilty of all those charges".

Gates says that when millions of dollars came in from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting work, Manafort would decide whether to classify it as income or a loan.

Gates is testifying as part of a plea agreement with the government.

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On the prosecution's projected evidence list are 23 email exchanges between just Manafort and Gates.

The contents of those emails - and how Gates interprets them before the court - could help either save or sink Manafort. Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Manafort do not address that. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

Notably, after urging prosecutors to speed things along as jurors heard from 14 witnesses last week, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said late on August 3 that Downing could begin his questioning of Laporta on Monday and wouldn't rush him.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing says that Rick Gates will testify at the conclusion of the testimony of Manafort's tax preparer.

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.

Gates testified that he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the US government, and knew that was illegal.

Gates said he conspired with Manafort to falsify tax returns, knowingly failed to report foreign bank accounts and failed to register Manafort as a foreign agent.

"In most instances it was clear Mr. Manafort knew what was going on", Laporta said.

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