Trevor Noah: Why Paul Manafort Must Be So Proud


Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's criminal trial had a sole, sensational focus on its sixth day: Rick Gates, his longtime deputy and right-hand man, testified against him for more than six hours.

The email from Manafort came after Gates informed him that the tax accountants had calculated that Manafort would have an increase in taxes of about $509,000 in 2014.

"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this". Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Donald Trump's presidential campaign. "The secret Rick Gates?"

But as soon as Downing asked about "the secret life of Rick Gates", the witness volunteered, "There was a period of time, nearly ten years ago, when I had a relationship, yes". In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts, " Gates said during his second day of testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss. "I had a period of time when I had another relationship", he added. Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate.

Gates answered: "I don't recall".

A spokesman for the special counsel's declined to comment.

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"Do you remember telling the office of the special counsel you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?"

After Andres objected to Downing's question, Judge T.S. Ellis called the attorneys to the front of the courtroom for a conference.

Gates finally admitted that he had provided false information prior to striking a plea agreement.

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

For most of his testimony, Gates did not look at Mr Manafort, while the defendant stared intently at his former partner.

Gate's testimony was part of the prosecution's effort to prove that Manafort was responsible for financial maneuverings that he and other witnesses have testified include filing false tax returns, defrauding banks in borrowing against real estate, and failing to report foreign bank accounts.

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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 struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He told jurors how he disguised millions of dollars in foreign income as loans in order to lower Manafort's tax bill. He was aware that Manafort was acting as an unregistered foreign agent in lobbying for Ukraine, he said.

Prosecutors on Wednesday planned to call an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic expert who traced Manafort's accounts. "Mr Manafort worked with the local political officials and helped implement policy initiatives based on the campaign promises". The firm's director was known to Manafort and Gates as "Doctor K".

Government lawyers have previously referred to Yanukovych as Manafort's "golden goose".

Later, Gates spoke directly to the 16 assembled jurors: "I'm here to tell the truth". Gates said the money in these accounts was earned from Manafort's political campaign work. He said of Manafort: "I believe he understood his name would not be represented, nor would mine". 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.

"The idea of exchanging income for loans reduced his overall tax liability", Gates said. Andres asked on Wednesday.

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And Gates faced fraud charges from the special counsel after it discovered he had written a letter to a Swiss movie production company falsely claiming that his own production company was investing in a film project by his friend, Steve Brown.