JUST IN: Govt ‘Star Witness’ Rick Gates Testifies He Committed Crimes While Working For Manafort before Trump Campaign
Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s former business associate took the witness stand Monday afternoon in the bank fraud and tax evasion case against Manafort.
Gates testified he committed crimes while working for Paul Manafort–of course these alleged crimes date back several years ago before Manafort temporarily worked for the Trump campaign.
Manafort reportedly stared directly at Gates during his testimony, however, Gates did not make eye contact with Manafort.
Via Fox News:
Rick Gates on Monday took the stand in the federal fraud case against his former business partner, ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, testifying that he committed crimes while working for Manafort.
“Were you involved in criminal activity when you worked for Paul Manafort?” federal prosecutor Greg Andres asked the witness.
“Yes,” Gates replied.
“Did you commit a crime?” Andres asked.
“Yes,” Gates said.
Update: Gates also testified he helped Manafort file false tax returns and cheated Paul Manafort out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, via CNN:
Gates told the jury he helped Manafort file false tax returns by lying to his boss’ accountants about under-reporting income, creating false loans, and not disclosing Manafort’s ownership of the foreign accounts.
In each of those instances Gates told the jury he lied “at the direction of Mr Manafort.”
Prosecutor Greg Andres began walking Gates through his plea agreement with Gates explaining his legal trouble increased after he lied to prosecutors during the investigation.
Rick Gates said he had been cheating Paul Manafort out of money to the tune of “several hundred thousand” dollars.
Gates told the jury that as part of his plea with the government, he revealed several other crimes that were not previously known and are not in the federal indictments of him and Manafort.
Gates said he stole the money from Manafort by submitting to him false expense reports.
Those expenses paid to him came out of the foreign bank accounts in Cyprus that Gates said he and Manafort knowingly did not disclose to the federal government.
Gates said he also created a fake letter to an investment company for a different colleague, Steve Brown. He also overreported his income on mortgage and credit card applications and lied to his own personal tax accountant.
Rick Gates also testified that he and Paul Manafort didn’t report 15 foreign accounts even though they knew it was illegal, reported CNN.
Manafort’s former accountant, Cindy Laporta, who was given immunity, testified last week she had concerns about the accuracy of Paul Manafort’s tax returns but filed them anyway, reported Fox News,
Last week, Mueller’s prosecutors sent shockwaves through the Alexandria, VA courtroom when they admitted Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates may not testify.
Rick Gates previously pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller; he was even referred to as the Special Counsel’s ‘star witness.’
Judge T.S. Ellis blasted Uso Asonye, Mueller’s prosecutor who told him Rick Gates may not testify.
On Friday, Judge Ellis lost his patience with Mueller’s prosecutors and ended court early, it will be interesting to see how the trial progresses Monday with this development.
Last week, Mueller’s prosecutors skewered Manafort over his lavish lifestyle and expensive suits which drew a sharp rebuke from Judge Ellis.
“It isn’t a crime to have money and be profligate with your spending,” Judge Ellis said to Mueller’s prosecutor.
This story is developing…please refresh page for updates.