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Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Rick Gates testifies that he committed crimes with ex-boss Paul Manafort

Prosecutors have called a witness other than Rick Gates in the financial fraud trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Mr Gates, whose testimony in the federal court trial of Mr Manafort - his longtime business partner - 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.

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.

As part of his plea agreement, Gates confessed to "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring with Manafort to commit a bevy of bank and securities fraud, as well as act as an unregistered foreign agent in conjunction with Manafort's work in Ukraine.

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

"At Mr. Manafort's request. we did not disclose the foreign bank accounts".

Downing will probably focus on Laporta's interactions with Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller. 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. When a banker asked about $1.5 million debt that Manafort's company owed to a Cyrus entity called Peranova Holdings Limited, Gates produced a backdated document showing it was forgiven.

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The criminal case has nothing to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer. Manafort's attorneys have signaled they will seek to blame Gates and have accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort.

Prosecutors on Monday went through a list of overseas corporations and Gates testified that all of them were controlled by Manafort and contained income earned by his political consulting work.

PHOTO: Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington.

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.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort, legal experts said.

But she said she was under the impression that Mr Manafort had been directing his deputies' actions and "knew what was going on".

There was no mention of President Trump or his campaign, but this trial is the first big public test for the special counsel.


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