The star witness in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort faced tough questioning on cross-examination on Tuesday about a "secret life" that included an extramarital affair and stealing funds from his former boss.
In the world outside Alexandria's courthouse square, special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into the Trump campaign's possible coordination with Russian Federation.
Rick Gates is back on the stand for another hour of cross-examination Wednesday, as defense attorneys seek to paint him as far too compromised to offer credible testimony against his former boss.
It's a practice he has admitted to doing to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort, and under pressure from Downing, he agreed that it could be called embezzlement.
"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans". Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The first made clear Manafort was upset about his 2014 tax bill. "How could I be blindsided like this". "This is a disaster".
"Mr. Manafort requested. that we did not disclose foreign bank accounts", Gates testified.
Under questioning by prosecutor Greg Andres, Gates walked the six-man, six-woman jury through the foreign bank accounts used by Manafort to receive payments from Ukrainian politicians - money that was not reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The loan was actually income disguised to lower Manafort's taxes, he said, and then forgiven to help Manafort get a loan.
The lawyer, Kevin Downing, was trying to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by directing him to help hide his foreign income and to submit phony mortgage and tax documents on his behalf.
Gates told the court Manafort requested he not tell a bookkeeper about payments made from accounts he held in Cyprus, testifying that hundreds of emails show Manafort approved payments out of those accounts, which he said at one point held almost $6 million.
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Gates testified that Manafort had instructed him to be "open" with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in that interview about how they were paid.
Behind the scenes, he was equally integral.
Gates' testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years.
But Weissmann has notably not questioned any witnesses at Manafort's Virginia trial. The special counsel's office has pushed back against the leak allegation, and while an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent testified he was present at a meeting with AP reporters about Manafort, the agent said the AP was offered little more than a "no comment" and an acknowledgement that their reporters were generally on track. And the fact that after loaning Manafort millions of dollars Calk became an economic adviser to Trump casts doubt on Trump's famous pledge to "drain the swamp" and puncture the rampant influence peddling in Washington. He frequently used the phrases "It's possible" and "I don't recall" as Downing challenged him about inconsistencies in testimony he gave to the special counsel's office. He admitted that on his own.
Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign accounts and spent years hiding millions of dollars to evade tax, his former deputy has claimed.
The bench conference took ten minutes.
"The government raised an issue whether or not we were going to cross-examine Mr. Gates about specific acts of marital infidelity", Downing told Judge Ellis. Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate.
Gates appeared shaky at times in answering questions, contrasting sharply with his firm and clear answers to questions by prosecutors.
"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort".