Manafort's lawyers press witness about his own lies, affair, embezzlement

Howard TerryAug 08, 2018

DMP International's revenue stream from Ukraine dried up in 2014 after its main client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Russian Federation amid a popular revolt.

Gates' ongoing testimony on Tuesday - the sixth day of Manafort's fraud trial - came one day after he testified that he'd committed crimes with Manafort.

"After all the lies you told you expect this jury to believe you?" But he could be seen twitching under cross examination by Downing, blinking hard as he faced the defense lawyer and sucking in his lips.

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort". Gates noted that all such payments were income earned via Manafort's political consulting work in Ukraine.

Rick Gates, the government's star witness, recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates by pressing him 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 also said that he did not report 15 foreign offshore bank accounts to the government.

"I'm here to tell the truth", Gates shot back.

Gates is cooperating in hopes of a lighter prison sentence. He told jurors he embezzled from Manafort by filing false expense reports.

And later that year, while trying to get another loan, Manafort himself asked Gates for a version of the firm's 2016 Profit & Loss Statement that could be edited, Gates testified.

Prosecutors had intentionally left many of these pieces of evidence blank on an itemized list of documents they are presenting in court, signaling they could be the most sensational and attention-grabbing files in the evidence binder. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises".

Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Downing sought to portray Gates as an inveterate liar, raising questions about whether he has been truthful with Mueller's office even after cutting a plea deal in February. He's expected to go for at least another hour in questioning with Manafort's attorney's. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

"The idea of exchanging income for loans reduced his overall tax liability", Gates said. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

Gates laying out a roadmap on how he and Manafort allegedly dodged USA taxes. after admitting Monday they committed numerous crimes as business partners.

In testimony Tuesday, Gates laid responsibility squarely at Manafort's feet for a series of crimes, as he described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents at Manafort's behest as his former boss became concerned he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up.

"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". "How could I be blindsided like this" on his high tax bill. You told me you were on top of this.

Andres also used his questioning to clean up some of the other messes made during Downing's initial round of cross-examination Tuesday afternoon.

Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work.

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