Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's longtime aide Rick Gates, accused by a Manafort lawyer at Manafort's trial on Tuesday of using business expenses for an affair, admitted to the extramarital relationship.
Gates' testimony, which began on Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, ended Wednesday morning soon after Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing had asked Gates if his "secret life" spanned the years 2010 to 2014.
Paul Manafort (above) heard long-time business associate Rick Gates's evidence.
Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS. "I'm not sure why, but there have been certain exchanges at sidebar that have seemed not all that judicious to me", he said.
"I'm not happy with this judge", Napolitano told Fox News' Dana Perino.
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.
Gates also said that when their political work in Ukraine dried up in 2015, Manafort had difficulty paying his bills and had no other clients at that time.
The case against Manafort has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.
But the defense team has taken on the the daunting task of convincing jurors that Gates, who was in constant communication with Manafort and carrying out his wishes, is an unreliable witness who had simply gone rogue and independently chose to boost his boss' personal income over a period of several years.
Gates told the court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he had met with government lawyer Greg Andres and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents 20 times and been told only to tell the truth, without any guarantee that he will be spared prison. Manafort made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before he took an unpaid position with the Trump campaign that lasted five months.
Trump was indirectly referenced in multiple ways throughout the testimony, highlighting the risks to the president of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
Gates, 46, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government as it prosecutes Manafort for allegedly evading USA taxes on tens of millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did together in Ukraine from 2006 to 2014.
During this period Gates said he falsified the firm's financial statements to support mortgage loan applications and misled bankers by submitting old home insurance policy information to make it appear Manafort owned the property, although current policy showed a mortgage loan. He pleaded guilty to charges in February and is cooperating for the possibility of a reduced sentence.
Gates testified that at Manafort's direction he went on to reclassify some of the income as a loan to lower the taxes owed. 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. And he lied to special counsel investigators after striking a plea agreement with them.
In an email shown to the jury, Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, wrote to Gates on November 24, 2016, "We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of Army".
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".
Manafort's accountant was asked about a purported $10 million loan from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. This was a way to decrease Manafort's taxable income, added Gates, who did not report the money to Manafort's book-keeper or accountants.