The Latest: Manafort lawyer press Gates on ‘lies’
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (all times local):
A lawyer for Paul Manafort suggests the government’s star witness, Rick Gates, has told “so many lies” he can’t remember them all.
That’s how attorney Kevin Downing began his cross-examination Tuesday of Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy. Manafort’s defense is looking to undermine Gates’ credibility and blame him for any crimes.
Downing pressed Gates on his own lies to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss.
Gates has told jurors he and Manafort spent years carrying out a vast tax-evasion and bank fraud conspiracy involving millions of dollars.
The judge presiding over Paul Manafort’s fraud trial is questioning how closely the former Trump campaign chairman kept track of his finances.
That’s a key issue in the trial. Defense lawyers say Manafort left tax and banking details to his deputy, Rick Gates, while prosecutors say Manafort was intimately involved in his own finances.
The comment by Judge T.S. Ellis III came Tuesday as Gates testified about Manafort’s knowledge about his political consulting firm shifting money among offshore accounts.
Gates said Manafort “was pretty good about knowing where the money is.” That prompted Ellis to note that Manafort was unaware that Gates had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions, from Manafort’s firm.
Ellis said Manafort didn’t monitor that money “that closely.”
The star witness at former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s fraud trial says he stole from his former boss because of personal struggles.
Asked Tuesday why he embezzled from Manafort, Rick Gates said he was living beyond his means. He said he made a mistake and is taking responsibility for it.
Gates’ response came as Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing asked whether Gates was using embezzled funds to pay for a relationship he had outside his marriage. Gates denied this.
Gates reluctantly admitted he engaged in embezzlement under extensive questioning from Downing. Initially Gates referred to “unauthorized transactions.”
When Downing asked him why he wouldn’t say “embezzlement,” Gates replied: “What difference does it make.”
He finally acknowledged: “It was embezzlement from Mr. Manafort.”
Paul Manafort’s trial came to an abrupt standstill after defense lawyers sought to question star witness Rick Gates about his time on President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Gates was undergoing an aggressive cross-examination from Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, when Downing asked Gates whether special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators had interviewed Gates about the campaign.
That prompted an objection from prosecutors and a sidebar conference. After several minutes of discussion away from the jury and the public, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III called for a 30-minute break.
In general, references to Trump at the two-week trial have been few and far between. Both sides agreed ahead of time to limit discussion of the campaign so as not to prejudice the jury.
The government’s star witness in the Paul Manafort trial says it’s possible he submitted personal expenses for reimbursement to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.
Rick Gates made the acknowledgement under cross examination. Gates was involved in the planning of the inauguration.
Manafort attorney Kevin Downing is also pressing Gates on his admission earlier in the trial that he had embezzled money from Manafort.
Downing is also suggesting Gates had a “secret life” involving a flat in London. In response, Gates says he had an extramarital affair and the London flat was used for that purpose.
Gates was given a list of $3 million in wire transfers that he received but struggled to say which were legitimate and which were not.
A lawyer for Paul Manafort has suggested to the government’s star witness that he has “told so many lies that you can’t even remember them.”
Rick Gates began a challenging cross-examination Tuesday as Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, pressed him on his own lies to the special counsel’s office and to embezzlement that he admitted to earlier in the trial.
Gates acknowledged he had to plead guilty to false statements after lying during a February interview with federal investigators.
He said “there’s no question I struggled to get all the information out.”
He struggled under cross-examination to remember exactly what he had admitted to during interviews with investigators.
At one point, Downing asked him, “Have they confronted you with so many lies that you can’t even remember them.”
Prosecutors have finished questioning Paul Manafort’s longtime deputy in his financial fraud trial.
Defense lawyers are preparing to cross-examine Rick Gates, the government’s star witness against the former Trump campaign chairman.
Gates is expected to face tough questions from Manafort’s defense team as they’ve sought to paint him as a liar, embezzler and instigator of any illegal conduct.
They are hoping to rebut hours of testimony Gates gave laying the blame for tax evasion and bank fraud at Manafort’s feet.
Gates has told jurors that he spent years fabricating documents, disguising income as loans and helping conceal millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS. Gates says all of those crimes were done at Manafort’s direction.
Paul Manafort asked for tickets to President Donald Trump’s inauguration so he could give them to a banker involved in approving a loan at the center of his financial fraud trial.
That’s according to testimony from Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy. Gates also says Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk’s name for a Trump administration post.
Gates says Manafort asked him in an email about the tickets and suggested that Calk be considered as secretary of the Army in the Trump administration.
The email exchange occurred after Manafort left the Trump campaign but while Gates was active on the Trump inauguration committee.
Prosecutors had previously said that Manafort’s interactions with Calk were the only part of the financial fraud trial to overlap with his Trump campaign role.
Prosecutors want the judge in Paul Manafort’s fraud trial to let them show evidence his businesses failed to file federal foreign bank account reports detailing hidden assets abroad.
Attorneys for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office say in a court filing that Manafort’s defense lawyers opened the door to such evidence by repeatedly referring to complex rules governing the required reporting of foreign bank account reports, known as FBARs (EFF-BARS).
Prosecutors want to show that the former Trump campaign chairman didn’t file any FBARs detailing accounts owned by his businesses, Davis Manafort Partners and DMP International.
The filing comes after a special agent with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network testified Monday that neither Manafort nor his wife personally submitted the paperwork as required by law.
Rick Gates says he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents at the behest of his boss, Paul Manafort.
Gates also says the former Trump campaign chairman repeatedly voiced concerns that he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up.
In one note described to the jury, Gates says Manafort wrote “WTF” and “not happy” about tax payments he was going to have to make.
Gates told jurors how he helped Manafort convert foreign income into loans as a way to reduce his tax bill. He says he later helped draft sham loan agreements and loan forgiveness letters.
The testimony has bolstered the prosecution’s tax-evasion and fraud case against Manafort. Manafort’s attorneys will cross-examine Gates later Tuesday. They have sought to paint Gates as the instigator of any criminal conduct.
Rick Gates says he was interviewed by the FBI in 2014 as part of a forfeiture investigation being done by Ukrainian authorities and the FBI.
Gates told jurors under questioning Tuesday that he did not believe at the time that he or Paul Manafort, who was also interviewed, were the focus of that investigation.
Gates says Manafort instructed him to travel to France to notify a Ukrainian businessman that the FBI wanted to interview them and to get more information about his business.
Manafort’s lawyers have said he was interviewed multiple times by the FBI. The asset-recovery investigation came after the fall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who employed Manafort for years.
Yanukovych and his officials have been accused of misappropriating tens of millions of dollars in Ukrainian assets.
Paul Manafort’s one-time protege has described for jurors how millions of dollars flowed from entities controlled by Ukrainian businessmen into Manafort’s bank accounts in Cyprus.
Rick Gates returned to the witness stand Tuesday as the government’s star witness in Manafort’s financial fraud trial in Alexandria, Virginia.
Gates said Manafort was paid for Ukrainian political consulting work, but that the money was classified as loans instead of income. He told jurors Manafort classified the money that way to decrease his taxable income. Gates says he didn’t report the money as income to Manafort’s bookkeeper or accountants.
Gates looked directly at prosecutor Greg Andres as he fielded questions. Manafort sometimes looked at Gates but also appeared to stare intently at documents displayed for the jury and on a screen in front of him.
The star witness for the government in Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial is returning to the witness stand.
Rick Gates, the longtime deputy of the former Trump campaign chairman, is continuing to relate the crimes he says he committed with Manafort.
Gates resumed his testimony Tuesday, a day after telling jurors how he helped Manafort hide millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS and later aided him in fraudulently obtaining bank loans. Gates also admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort.
Gates is testifying as part of a plea deal he made with the government earlier this year. Manafort faces the potential of spending the rest of his life in prison.
Manafort’s defense has sought to blame Gates for any crimes.
The star witness in the financial fraud trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is set to return to the witness stand after telling jurors he himself embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his old boss.
Rick Gates is expected on Tuesday to continue describing the ins-and-outs of defendant Paul Manafort’s finances, including what prosecutors say was an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and fraud scheme.
Gates is almost guaranteed to face withering cross-examination by Manafort’s defense attorneys, who are seeking to blame any crimes on Manafort’s onetime associate.
On Monday, Gates calmly acknowledged having embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing false expense reports. He said the two committed crimes together by stashing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.