Gates testifies he committed crimes while working with Manafort

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

Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign manager for President Donald Trump, testified Monday that he committed crimes with his onetime business partner Paul Manafort.

Prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates if he conducted criminal activity with Manafort and if he had committed crimes with Manafort.

As part of his plea agreement, Gates confessed to "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring with Manafort to commit a bevy of bank and securities fraud, as well as act as an unregistered foreign agent in conjunction with Manafort's work in Ukraine.

Gates said that he did all of those crimes "at the direction of Mr. Manafort", CNN reported.

Downing will probably focus on Laporta's interactions with Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller. One came after a September 15, 2015, conference call in which Gates balked at the amount of taxes that Manafort's political consulting firm owed for 2014.

Gates worked as Manafort's right-hand man over the past decade, and prosecutors say he helped Manafort evade taxes and lie to banks to qualify for loans. The charges largely predate his five months on the Trump campaign but were the first to go to trial arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

Gates, whose testimony in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, was continuing, was expected to be a star witness in the government's case, having pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors under a deal that could lead to a reduced sentence.

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Gates also said he lied in a lawsuit deposition years ago, after Manafort "asked me not to include" certain things in the deposition.

Gates also testified he and Manafort knew it was a crime because they had been notified by Manafort's accountants in emails.

Gates is also admitting to carrying out a vast scheme to hide millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf.

Instead, prosecutors called a different witness named Paula Liss.

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.

Earlier Monday, Ellis threatened to kick reporters out of the courtroom if they continue being "disruptive".

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