Gates says Manafort told him to be truthful to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Paul Manafort

Prosecutors summoned Gates to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme.

Still, that testimony has provided jurors with a damning account as Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years.

Gates told the court Manafort requested he not tell a bookkeeper about payments made from accounts he held in Cyprus, testifying that hundreds of emails show Manafort approved payments out of those accounts, which he said at one point held almost $6 million.

On Wednesday, Downing sought to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by getting Gates to acknowledge that Manafort told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gates admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars - $3 million, Downing claimed, but could not definitively prove - from Manafort. The charges are not related to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign. Cindy Laporta, one of the accountants, also testified that Manafort and Gates had used phony loan documents to improperly reduce Manafort's income and lower his tax bill.

Magionos said foreign bank documents and emails showed that Manafort repeatedly drew from bank accounts in Cyprus, the Grenadines and the United Kingdom to pay for expenditures in the U.S.

"I'm not happy with this judge", Napolitano told Fox News' Dana Perino.

But the grilling got more intense, and personal, Tuesday afternoon when Downing pressed Gates about a "secret life" he said was funded by embezzlement, including an extramarital affair that Gates himself acknowledged.

During cross examination, Manafort's attorneys pointed out Gates' extramarital affairs, including a woman in London who may have had a hand in the financial crimes Gates to which admitted, Politico reported.

Prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates Thursday whether Mueller's team had told him how to answer questions.

Ellis, known for his courtroom humor and occasional scolding of lawyers, has set strict boundaries on Manafort's trial.

Downing responded that the question goes to whether Downing told the truth to the special counsel or whether the plea agreement should be ripped up - potentially devastating to the government's case and to the public perception of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. And the fact that after loaning Manafort millions of dollars Calk became an economic adviser to Trump casts doubt on Trump's famous pledge to "drain the swamp" and puncture the rampant influence peddling in Washington.

While Gates and others have pleaded guilty, Manafort has refused to strike a deal and legal experts say he may be holding out hopes of a pardon from Trump.

"I acknowledge I had a period of time when I had another relationship", said Gates, who is married and has four children.

Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.

Gates admitted during testimony on Monday to embezzling money from Manafort.

"I'm here. I'm trying to change", he said.

More recently, after the launch of the Mueller investigation but before his plea bargain, Gates lied to the FBI about a meeting between Manafort and an unnamed US Congressman regarding a "specific issue". He banned the word "oligarch" from the courtroom for being "pejorative" and complained last week about prosecutors' attempts to put Manafort on trial "for having a lavish lifestyle".

Numerous jurors have diligently taken notes throughout the proceedings, peering down into small monitors in front of them to scrutinize bank and tax documents.

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the USA tax authorities. Gates said the man schooled them on how to shield their operations from scrutiny by tax collectors.

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