Rick Gates testified that he stole with, on behalf of, and from Donald Trump’s former campaign manager:
Rick Gates — the star witness against President Trump’s ex-campaign manager — admitted in federal court Monday that he committed a host of crimes with his former boss, and confessed to stealing from him and others.
In his first hour on the witness stand, Gates catalogued years of crimes, saying most of his wrongdoing was committed on behalf of his former boss, Paul Manafort, while other crimes were for his own benefit, including the theft of hundreds thousands of dollars. Gates also made clear he was testifying against Manafort in the hopes of receiving a lesser prison sentence, having pleaded guilty in February as part of a deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
“Did you commit crimes with Mr. Manafort?” prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates.
“Yes,” Gates responded.
As he answered questions, Gates kept his eyes on the prosecutor. Manafort, seated at the defense table, stared intently at his former business partner.
Presented with a copy of the plea agreement he signed, Gates said he conspired with Manafort to falsify Manafort’s tax returns.
Andres, the prosecutor, asked Gates whether he understood that his lies to Manafort’s accountants and omissions were illegal.
“Yes,” Gates said.
When asked why he had lied, Gates said he had done so at Manafort’s request.
Gates said he and Paul Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the federal government, and they knew it was illegal.
“Mr. Manafort directed me” to not report those accounts, Gates testified.
Gates said that even while he was committing crimes with his boss, he was also stealing from him.
He testified that he had control over some of the Cyprus bank accounts that held Manafort’s money, and created phony bills to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“I added money to expense reports and created expense reports” that were not accurate, he said, to pad his salary by “several hundred thousand” dollars.
It’s part of the business. It’s considered leakage.