Rick Gates Set to Testify Against Ex-Boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington. Paul Manafort’s trial opened this week with a display of his opulent lifestyle and testimony about what prosecutors say were years of financial deception. But the

Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, on Monday testified at Manafort's fraud trial that they committed crimes.

On day five of the trial in Alexandria, Virginia, Gates was asked by the prosecutor whether he had committed any crimes with Mr Manafort, and he said: "Yes".

Ahead of Manafort's trial, Mueller's prosecutors listed Gates as a potential witness, indicating that he was expected to play a central role in the prosecutor's case against his former boss.

Gates told the jury that as part of his plea with prosecutors, he revealed several other crimes that were not previously known and that were not included in the federal indictments against him and Manafort.

As well as serving as Manafort's right-hand man in their multimillion-dollar business, Gates was also Manafort's deputy on the Trump campaign. One came after a September 15, 2015, conference call in which Gates balked at the amount of taxes that Manafort's political consulting firm owed for 2014.

In court on Monday, Gates testified that he did steal from Manafort.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

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Attorneys representing Manafort have built their defense argument around Gates, painting him as the true culprit behind their client's alleged crimes and asserting that Manafort's only mistake was "placing his trust in the wrong person", referring to Gates.

Aside from admitting to the false expense reports, Gates said he also created a fake letter to an investment company for a different colleague, Steve Brown.

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said, however, that Gates' testimony will be key for the jury and their deliberations.

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

"Rick Gates had his hands in the cookie jar and he didn't want his boss to find out", defense attorney Thomas Zehnle told the court in opening statements last week, accusing Gates of being "willing to say anything to save himself".

Under cross examination, she said at the time she believed Manafort was directing Gates' actions and "knew what was going on".

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