Trevor Noah: Why Paul Manafort Must Be So Proud


He told the jury that Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, loaned himself money between two Cypriot accounts because "he was trying to decrease his taxable income".

He said Manafort asked for tickets to Trump's inauguration so he could give them to a banker involved in approving a loan at the centre of his financial fraud trial.

But during cross-examination on Tuesday, the defense painted Gates as living a "secret life" in London and accused him of embezzling money from Manafort's foreign accounts at center of the trial to indulge in an extramarital affair in the United Kingdom. "The secret Rick Gates?". The married father of four said the relationship lasted two months and involved an apartment in London. Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the USA government. "I had a period of time when I had another relationship", he added.

Downing asked if Gates had submitted personal expenses to the Trump inaugural committee.

By that time, Gates was working on Trump's inaugural committee.

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"You told me you were on top of this", he wrote Gates in April 2015.

Gates appeared nervous on the witness stand at the court in Alexandria, Virginia, blinking frequently, his throat apparently dry as he spoke. Through patient explanation, volumes of otherwise dry and somewhat confusing evidence regarding tax evasion was brought into context by special counsel Robert Mueller's star witness.

"Why won't you say it?" "Did you provide false information or did you have a bad memory?" he asked. The special counsel's office has pushed back against the leak allegation, and while an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent testified he was present at a meeting with AP reporters about Manafort, the agent said the AP was offered little more than a "no comment" and an acknowledgement that their reporters were generally on track.

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he falsified documents for Manafort, including converting a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income.

"Yes, because I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates replied.

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"Have they presented you with so many lies that you can't remember?"

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade USA taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

The face-off between longtime business associates and former senior members of the Trump campaign drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings. He agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. These fake agreements were necessary, Gates said, "in order to make transfers" out of the Cyprus-based entities.

On Tuesday, the court was shown a series of emails, contracts and what prosecutor Greg Andres referred to as "fake invoices", in which Gates altered the template to show the name of a shell company instead of Manafort's.

In applying for a loan from Banc of California, Gates said the income from Manafort's company was inflated by $6 million.

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Gates explained that Manafort's financial difficulties worsened in 2014, when Viktor Yanukovych was no longer in power and the Party of Regions disintegrated. "Mr Manafort had the same path". His consultancy work also included "Engage Ukraine", an effort to help Ukraine join the European Union. He said of Manafort: "I believe he understood his name would not be represented, nor would mine". This kept the scheme mostly hidden from accountants and bookkeepers-though immunized witness Cynthia Laporta earlier testified that she had her doubts about the veracity of Manafort's and Gates's representations surrounding the loans. Gates said the man schooled them on how to shield their operations from scrutiny by tax collectors.