Manafort trial: Star witness testifies against ex-Trump aide

AFP  Getty Images FILEPaul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court

AFP Getty Images FILEPaul Manafort arrives for a hearing at U.S. District Court

The fifth day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial, after a weekend break, surprised the attendees in the courtroom when prosecutors called Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates to testify.

Gates, who is cooperating with prosecutors in the trial of Trump's former campaign chairman, testified that Manafort directed him to report overseas income as loans in order to lower his taxable income.

Manafort is on trial in Virginia for various financial crimes he was charged with as part of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's ongoing investigation.

"Did you commit crimes with Mr. Manafort?" a prosecutor asked Gates.

Gates is expected to be the government's star witness in its case against Manafort.

Taking the stand on the trial's fifth day, Gates admitted to helping Manafort doctor financial statements, hide sources of foreign income, mislead banks to get loans and cheat on his USA taxes.

The testimony comes hours after Manafort's defense attorneys accused Gates of embezzling as they sought to paint Gates as an untrustworthy witness. With an enormous salary serving his expensive lifestyle (earlier in Manafort's trial, we learned about his taste for ostrich jackets), Manafort had a pretty good racket going on, until he plunged into debt and made the fateful decision to run President Trump's long-shot campaign in 2016. He said he assisted Manafort with a number of loans Manafort was seeking, and that he provided fraudulent and altered documents to support those loans.

Jurors will hear again Monday from Cynthia Laporta, an accountant who testified August 3 about going along with phony, backdated documents meant to help lower Manafort's tax bills and secure real-estate loans even as his personal debt rose.

Prosecutors say Manafort used those companies to stash millions of dollars from his Ukrainian consulting work, proceeds he omitted year-after-year from his income tax returns.

Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates, described by witnesses as his "right-hand man", for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort.

Demi Lovato, 25, rushed to hospital following medical emergency at her home
She later shared the video from the show of her struggling to hold back tears as she sang the heartbreaking lyrics. Pop singer Demi Lovato is in a Los Angeles hospital after a suspected heroin overdose, U.S. media report .

Some of the maneuvers were at the request of Gates, while others implicated Manafort, Laporta testified.

His testimony represents the biggest test yet for Mueller's investigation even though this case does not directly play into the issue of alleged cooperation by the Trump campaign in Russian election interference.

On the prosecution's projected evidence list are 23 email exchanges between just Manafort and Gates.

In court on Monday, a retired carpenter, a clothier and a high-end landscaper detailed how Manafort paid them in worldwide wire transfers from offshore companies.

Ms Laporta, looking at a summary of loans to Mr Manafort and his businesses, said she could not see any indication the loan from Mr Deripaska had been paid off.

During the questioning, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III will be both referee and wild card.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort.

Gates testified that he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the US government, and knew that was illegal.

When asked why had lied, he told prosecutors he had done so at Mr Manafort's request.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.