Rick Gates Denies Embezzling Money From Manafort’s Company To Finance AffairThe former Paul Manafort aide admitted to the extramarital affair in court Tuesday.ALEXANDRIA, Va. ― Rick Gates, once a top aide to President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, admitted Tuesday that he had an extramarital affair about a decade ago but denied embezzling money from Manafort’s company to finance it.
The admission, made during cross-examination from Manafort’s attorneys, was part of Gates’ second day of testimony against Manafort, who’s currently on trial for money laundering and fraud charges from his work as a pro-Russian lobbyist in Ukraine.
Both have been indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s campaign. Gates has been a key witness since pleading guilty earlier this year and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller’s team in order to reduce jail time.
On Monday, Gates publicly admitted to committing crimes with Manafort, including falsifying tax documents and hiding his lobbying work.
Much of his testimony on Tuesday morning detailed the various schemes he engaged in for Manafort. Gates said he was working by order of Manafort when he had overseas accounts pay for Manafort’s personal expenses, including luxury clothing, landscaping and audio-visual costs.
Gates also created fake invoices to send to an overseas bank, he said, because the bank needed the invoices to list their lobbying business as the client rather than Manafort, even though the expenses were for Manafort personally.
Gates testified Tuesday that Manafort’s business dried up when the pro-Russia political party they were working for in Ukraine lost power in 2014.
“The income streams were more difficult to come by,” he said of that time.
According to Gates, he worked with Manafort on ways to “reduce his overall tax liability,” including by falsifying loans that were actually income.
When Manafort received an estimate on how much he had owed in taxes, he wrote, “Not happy. I just saw this. WTF,” according to an email read by Gates.
Trump’s name didn’t come up during testimony, but Gates did refer to joining “one of the presidential campaigns” in March of 2015. Manafort was under tremendous financial pressure at the time and had been paying Gates’ salary out of his personal savings and investments because their business dealings in Ukraine had dried up.
Manafort was applying for bank loans at the time, and Gates testified that he helped falsify documents to secure a loan from a bank. Gates testified that Manafort was fully informed about what Gates was doing.
Lydia O’Connor contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.