Manafort defense questions star witness Gates about 'secret life'

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While Gates endured his second day on the witness stand on Tuesday, he also recounted the many legally troubling falsehoods he resorted to while working alongside Manafort.

Rick Gates, the former business partner of Paul Manafort, testified Tuesday that he helped Manafort hide payments from offshore accounts.

Downing then asked about what he called "the secret life of Rick Gates", inquiring whether Gates kept an apartment in London and if he engaged in an extramarital relationship there.

And there were Manafort's emails, which prosecutors showed to the courtroom.

The veteran Republican operative is not on trial for anything he did while serving for three months in 2016 as chairman of Trump's presidential campaign.

Gates says Manafort also wanted to give the businessman a heads up about the FBI's interest in the offshore accounts as part of the USA government's efforts to recover assets stolen under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents.

In fact, his name was barely mentioned in the first five days of the tax and bank fraud case brought against his former campaign chairman.

Gates says that Manafort asked him to meet with one of the Ukrainian businessmen involved in paying him millions of dollars to find out if one of the shell companies used to pay him was a "clean entity".

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After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight. Manafort and Gates left no fingerprints.

The questioning of Paul Manafort's protege during the political consultant's financial fraud trial has turned confrontational and personal, focusing on Rick Gates' own crimes as well as an extramarital affair and a plea agreement.

In another heated exchange, Downing tried to press Gates into explicitly saying that he had embezzled money from Manafort. Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the US government. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army. The defense asserted in its opening statement that Gates could have committed the bank fraud, tax fraud and foreign banking crimes that form Manafort's charges.

However, when Andres returned to the podium for another chance to question Gates, Gates said that Manafort did reach out to a Ukrainian businessman before his Federal Bureau of Investigation interview to get more information about the entity that the businessman used to pay him and to make sure that it was "clean", meaning it was only used to pay Manafort.

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday. The funds were logged as loans in order to meet later audits in Cyprus that required documentation of transfers between bank accounts. He also said he committed credit card and mortgage fraud, falsified a letter for a colleague involved in an investment deal and made false statements in a deposition at Manafort's direction.

Mr Gates told jurors that he had been "tasked" by his boss "to determine how we could lower the taxes".

Downing also pressed Gates about creating "fake and phony" invoices to trigger payments to himself from Manafort's accounts in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gates converted the 2015 DMP P&L to a Word document for Manafort, but there were spacing, font, and other discrepancies between that copy and the original. When the trial broke for lunch, Manafort looked back at his wife, sitting in the front row, smiled and winked at her, followed by a quick shake of his head, seeming to indicate he was unfazed by the morning's testimony.

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