Rick Gates Set to Testify Against Ex-Boss Paul Manafort

Thomas Zehnle second from right attorney for Paul Manafort walks with other members of the defense team to Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria Va. Monday Aug. 6 2018. Manafort President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman is on

Rick Gates, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump, testified on Monday at his former business partner Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial that he assisted Manafort in filing false tax returns.

Ahead of Manafort's trial, Mueller's prosecutors listed Gates as a potential witness, indicating that he was expected to play a central role in the prosecutor's case against his former boss.

Speaking at Manafort's trial late that afternoon, Gates bluntly answered the prosecutor's questions.

Gates served as Manafort's business partner for almost a decade until 2016, when the two joined the Trump campaign for president.

Gates was Manafort's right-hand man during the pair's lobbying work in Ukraine.

"Rick Gates had his hands in the cookie jar and he didn't want his boss to find out", defense attorney Thomas Zehnle told the court in opening statements last week, accusing Gates of being "willing to say anything to save himself".

"Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?" the prosecutor asked.

Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Manafort do not address that.

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Prosecutors surprised Judge T.S. Ellis last Wednesday when Uzo Asonye, a special counsel attorney, suggested that Gates "may not" take the stand.

He testified that Mr Manafort had directed him to lower taxable income by reporting overseas income as loans, according to USA media.

But she said she was under the impression that Mr Manafort had been directing his deputies' actions and "knew what was going on".

Prosecutors have introduced a bevy of exhibits and are in the process of calling several witnesses as part of their effort to paint Manafort as a tax scofflaw who failed to report money spent on luxury items - then lied to get bank loans when his foreign consulting work dried up.

Some of the maneuvers were at the request of Gates, while others implicated Manafort, Laporta testified.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort, legal experts said.

But Manafort's defense team is expected to use Gates, too.

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