Rick Gates, testifying in Manafort trial, admits to affair, London apartment

Getty Images  TPM Illustration

Getty Images TPM Illustration

The charges largely predate the five months Manafort spent on Trump's campaign. "I already admitted on the record that I took unauthorised funds from Mr Manafort".

Manafort's attorney, Kevin Downing, suggested there was a side to Gates few had seen. "The secret Rick Gates?".

But things got "real Law & Order-y" when Manafort's lawyer cross-examined Gates, getting him to admit to.an extramarital affair 10 years ago, Colbert said.

Gates was then heard saying Manafort had been on the same path, according to multiple media reports. "I regret it, clearly, and I'm taking responsibility for it", he said. Gates, Manafort's longtime business partner and Trump's deputy campaign chairman, was working on the transition team and the inauguration.

Gates also acknowledged creating a fraudulent letter for movie producer and political operative Steven Brown, who pleaded guilty in April to participating in a scheme that defrauded investors of over $9.5 million involving false documents.

Sure, Gates called himself a liar and a cheat on Tuesday.

Pressed by Downing and Judge T.S. Ellis III, Gates admitted that numerous expenses weren't approved by Manafort. 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. "I provided false information to the special counsel office prior to my plea agreement", Gates said.

Gates struggled so badly to give a straight answer that eventually Judge T S Ellis III was forced to intervene.

"Why won't you say it?"

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.

"I was, in essence, living beyond my means", he said. Gates also admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort. Downing pressed him on the specifics of their business relationship: which payments to Gates were authorised and which were not.

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

Although the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation are not at issue in this trial, any significant blows to the government's case are likely be seized on by the president's defenders, including conservative media, to support his contention that Mueller's investigation is a "rigged witch-hunt". Gates pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February and agreed to cooperate with the government. He was aware that Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine, he said.

The testimony came as prosecutors wrapped up their questioning of Gates mid-afternoon Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Gates told the court that Manafort would frequently pay for clothing, landscaping and other personal expenses using wire transfers directly from his bank accounts in Cyprus and others in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The asset-recovery investigation came after the fall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who employed Manafort for years.

For now, the defense team has largely left in tact the possibility that Manafort engaged in the crimes alongside Gates.

Rick Gates says he was interviewed by the FBI in 2014 as part of a forfeiture investigation being done by Ukrainian authorities and the FBI.

"Rick, we need to discuss Steve Calk for Secretary of Army", Manafort, after he had left the campaign, wrote to Gates by email on November 24, 2016.

When an individual sets up an entity in Cyprus, Gates explained, their name does not appear on any of the paperwork.

"I understood it to be significant", he said.

"Was he having difficulty paying his bills?"

Gates said that he provided false information because he couldn't remember specific events. Prosecutors allege that the bank lent Manafort money based on fraudulent documents, and that Calk was named an adviser to the campaign and sought the Army post as part of a quid pro quo.

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