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

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

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

The topic came up as Kevin Downing, Manafort's defense attorney, hammered away at Gates' admitted habit of filing doctored expense reports in an attempt to paint Gates as self-motivated and untrustworthy.

Gates said "there were instances where I struggled with the interviews", suggesting he had trouble recalling information in his interviews with the special counsel. "I'm taking responsibility for it. I made a mistake".

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Through emails and documents submitted into evidence Tuesday, Gates explained how he and Manafort enlisted the help of a Cypriot lawyer - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because his name, Gates said, was hard to pronounce - to create "shelf" companies to receive payments from Manafort's various Ukrainian political clients for their work.

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. In addition, he pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators.

"After all the lies you've told and the fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" Gates did not have a chance to respond to those allegations Monday.

"I'm not sure I told them that or not", Gates replied.

Virginia-based Kositzka, Wicks & Co. said in a statement Tuesday it was "shocked by Ms. Laporta's testimony, which clearly represents that she failed to meet the firm's high standards for professional and ethical conduct in her work for Mr. Manafort".

The prosecution flashed a December 2011 email on the TV screens in the Alexandria, Virginia, courtroom Tuesday between Gates and Manafort about a wire transfer. On Monday, he testified that he helped Manafort file false tax returns and hide his foreign bank accounts. When Gates had prepared the transaction, he would run the final logistics by Manafort. According to The Washington Post, the affair occurred about 10 year ago.

Gates made numerous damaging admissions during cross-examination.

By way of explanation, Gates said he had been living beyond his means at the time he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort. Looking at a ledger listing almost $3 million in transactions, he was unable to say which ones were legitimate and which ones he initiated with false expense reports.

Cindy Laporta testified Friday in the government's case against the former Trump campaign chairman, saying she went along with the scam because she was anxious Manafort and his right-hand-man Rick Gates would sue.

Update from the Paul Manafort trial: Rick Gates admitted... everything in testimony yesterday. Gates said he was responsible for collecting all relevant documents for the loan applications.

Prosecutors hope to wrap up their case this week.

Although the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation are not at issue in this trial, any significant blows to the government's case are likely be seized on by the president's defenders, including conservative media, to support his contention that Mueller's investigation is a "rigged witch-hunt".

Asked if had also claimed unauthorised personal expenses from the inaugural committee, Gates replied "It's possible".

During questioning by prosecutors on Tuesday morning, Gates said that Manafort had emailed him in late 2016 asking for the incoming Trump administration to consider tapping Federal Savings Bank Chief Executive Steve Calk for Secretary of the Army. Plus the Yankees ticketing staffer and the banker who worked under Calk have yet to testify.

Gates also testified that Manafort in 2014 expressed frustration to him about the amount he owed in taxes.

One part of his testimony led to laughter in the courtroom.