Gates admits he cheated on wife at Manafort trial

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

The drama came at the end of Gates's testimony in the trial of his former boss and mentor Manafort, an ex-Donald Trump campaign chairman accused of bank fraud and tax evasion.

Paul Manafort's former accountant was sacked from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort's tax returns contained false information. Gates is considered the prosecution's star witness. "The secret Rick Gates?" The "Mar-a-Lago Crowd", as they're known among VA insiders, have secretly exerted sweeping influence on the VA ever since - even though none of the three has ever served in the US military or government and appear to have no special knowledge of veterans issues. Gates said he was guilty, having wired money from Cyprus through the United Kingdom to the USA without paying taxes on it for himself. "I had a period of time when I had another relationship", he added.

Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been a distraction for a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to publicly fume about Mueller's investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin. Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate.

"Objection", prosecutor Greg Andres yelled.

In a tense day in court, the campaign strategist's longtime deputy, Rick Gates, told jurors how the pair were paid by Ukrainian oligarchs for their work as political consultants in the country. 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.

Defence lawyers saw an opening to undermine his testimony by painting him as liar and a philanderer, getting him to admit to an extramarital affair and reminding jurors how he had lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team while working out a plea deal for himself.

Downing told Judge T.S. Ellis III that he plans to cross-examine Gates for another hour Wednesday morning. In addition, he pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators.

During his testimony Monday, Gates admitted he had embezzled money from Manafort by creating false expense reports on his own behalf. Downing pressed him on the specifics of their business relationship: which payments to Gates were authorised and which were not. He challenged the witness: "Have they [the special counsel's office] confronted you with so many lies you can't remember any of it?"

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Four employees at Dr. K's firm established and named the entities - Leviathan Ltd. and Peranova Ltd. are two of the more high-profile examples - where Manafort and Gates held millions of dollars of payments to Manafort's Davis Manafort Partners (DMP) and DMP International from their overseas political clients. But inside the courtroom, trial proceedings had plodded along almost Trump-free. He was aware that Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine, he said.

Gates testified they were not loans but compensation to Manafort. He poked fun at himself Wednesday as he haggled with the attorneys for 20 minutes over the number and type of charts prosecutors could present during the testimony of the Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic accountant. Gates also worked on the campaign.

On Tuesday, Gates did connect one part of the bank fraud charges against Manafort to his role in the Trump campaign.

Government lawyers have previously referred to Yanukovych as Manafort's "golden goose". "You told me you were on top of this", he wrote Gates in April 2015. He said of Manafort: "I believe he understood his name would not be represented, nor would mine".

Gates said he did not. Gates said he was responsible for collecting all relevant documents for the loan applications. Andres asked on Wednesday.

Downing seized on those admissions to try and cast doubt on whether the jury can trust Gates' claims that he only carried out the fraud alleged by prosecutors at Manafort's behest.

"It was an embezzlement from Mr. Manafort", he said, with mock finality.

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