Gates testimony concludes
Paul Manafort’s protege wrapped up his testimony Wednesday after implicating the former Trump campaign chairman and himself in financial crimes while also enduring stinging attacks on his character and credibility.
Rick Gates has been the government’s star witness in Manafort’s financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped conceal millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents.
Defense lawyers saw an opening to undermine his testimony by painting him as a liar and philanderer, getting him to admit to an extramarital affair and reminding jurors how he had lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team while working out a plea deal for himself.
The testimony, stretching across three days, created an extraordinary courtroom showdown between the two former Trump campaign aides who were indicted together by Mueller but who have since opted for radically different strategies: Manafort is the lone American charged by Mueller to opt for trial, whereas Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate by testifying against his former boss.
Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been a distraction for a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to publicly fume about Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin.
Prosecutors relied on Gates to provide direct, first-hand support of the accusations against Manafort.