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Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs

09 August 2018

In a blistering back-and forth, Paul Manafort's lawyer suggested Tuesday that the star witness in the former Trump campaign chairman's financial fraud trial has told "so many lies" he can't remember all of them.

The judge's comments came in response to a written filing by prosecutors on the eighth day of Manafort's trial on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud.

"I thought it was a lower amount", Gates said Wednesday.

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the United States tax authorities.

HuffPost Illustration/Getty Images Rick Gates.

With a nod to linguistic differences for what Americans refer to as an apartment, Downing pressed: "As part of your secret life did you maintain a flat - is that what they call it? - in London?" "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said. Trump often boasts that he hires "the best people", and the sixth day of the trial showcased two people who worked for him, one who allegedly tried to use his influence in Trump's circle to boost someone he had a sketchy financial relationship with, and another who admitted under oath that he may have stolen money from Trump's inaugural committee.

"I thought it was somewhere in the range of a hundred years, your honor", Gates said.

Gates appeared nervous on the witness stand at the court in Alexandria, Virginia, blinking frequently, his throat apparently dry as he spoke.

He's also had several heated exchanges with the attorneys from special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

"You knowingly made a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation?"

The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, cut Gates off, saying, "this isn't the time for that". "Did you provide false information or did you have a bad memory?" he asked.

In addition, Gates has admitted to other criminal conduct. "I did, to one count, your honour", he said.

During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday.

"After all the lies you've told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"

In an aggressive cross-examination on Tuesday, Manafort's lead attorney Downing said to Gates: "You stole from Mr. Manafort". Prosecutors allege Manafort used various ways to hide his income, including wiring money from Ukraine to the United States via a bank in Cyprus and listing it as a loan, and laundering almost $1 million through the purchases of Oriental rugs. The case has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign, which has only tangentially figured in the trial. He testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, concealing money in foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank loan documents.

Prosecutor Greg Andres recalled how the defense team had implied Gates was getting out of a 200-year prison sentence by testifying. In a heated moment under cross examination by attorney Kevin Downing, Gates acknowledged that it is "possible" he submitted personal expenses for reimbursement from the committee.

The jury has heard how Manafort made tens of millions of dollars working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec (retary) of the Army", Manafort wrote to Gates in an email on November 24, 2016.

"Yes, because I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates replied. However, Gates also said the agents did not ask about tax returns and "the majority of the Cypriot accounts were closed" at the stage.

Melinda James, a mortgage loan assistant at Citizen's Bank, testified about a loan application from Manafort she helped process in late 2016 and early 2016. Andres asked on Wednesday.

Manafort defense asks Gates about additional extramarital affairs