At the bank fraud trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his former associate, Rick Gates, who has cut a plea deal has testified that he committed crimes with Manafort. He told the court Monday that he and Manafort had over a dozen foreign accounts they did not report to the government, and they knew that this was illegal.
Manafort's first trial enters its second week on Monday, and the most critical testimony yet is unfolding. Gates was called to the stand at 4:15 p.m. Monday.
Gates, who also served a senior role in Mr. Trump's campaign, has been a key cooperator for special counsel Robert Mueller's team after he cut a plea deal earlier this year. During that plea process, Gates admitted to two felony charges, but today is the first time he's detailing those crimes face-to-face with his former boss and mentor. Gates is one of 35 potential witnesses prosecutors hope to call to the stand.
The trial, taking place in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first of Mueller's prosecutions to reach a jury. But lawyers have made no mention of Trump or possible campaign coordination with the Kremlin, the central question behind the special counsel's investigation.
Last week, Manafort was accused of amassing "secret income" and falsifying tax returns and using fake loans to pay less in taxes, among other things.
Read updates below as they happened.
Gates testifies on the details of his and Manafort's business dealings
In his first 1 hour and 15 minutes of testimony, Gates verified that he conspired with Manafort from 2008-2015. The government presented Gates' plea agreement. Gates claimed that he underreported Manafort's income and that the schedule presented to the IRS was not checked. When asked why apparently he lied to Manafort's accountants, Gates replied, "At Mr. Manafort's request." Gates confirmed that he knew it was illegal at the time.
Gates also testified that he made a false statement to the FBI. Five years ago, Manafort had a meeting with a congressman and, when presented with a memo, Gates said he lied on the basis that the meeting did not occur when it did.
At one point, Gates stated that Manafort was "probably one of the most politically brilliant strategists I've ever worked with."
The government the presented Gates' passports to verify the dates he was in Ukraine and Cyprus. The judge rebuked the government because the facts were not disputed and urged them to get to the "heart of the matter."
When asked why he traveled to Cyprus, Gates responded that he worked on a campaign for Dr. K in Cyprus. Gates then said that Dr. K's law firm opened up all the accounts in Cyprus for Manafort. Gates said, "I had authority on some of the offshore accounts to move that money." Various memos about political consulting in Ukraine and Cyprus were also presented and verified.
-- Clare Hymes and Bryce Klehm
Rick Gates testifies he committed crimes with Paul Manafort — live updates
Gates admitted under questioning that he committed crimes with Manafort.
Gates testified that he and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the U.S. government, and knew that was illegal.
"Mr. Manafort requested I make wire transfers from the foreign accounts," Gates said. "At Mr. Manafort's request ... we did not disclose the foreign bank accounts."
Rick Gates takes the stand
Gates, after he was initially not called up to testify, was called to the stand by the prosecution. He is testifying now.
Rick Gates not yet taking the stand
Former Manafort associate Rick Gates was expected to take the stand, the defense said Monday afternoon, but he was not the next person called, confusing even the judge.
The prosecution called a different witness, Paula Liss, a FINCEN senior special agent and anti-money laundering specialist.
It's unclear whether Gates will testify Monday, or later in the week.
At least one FBI forensic accountant to testify
The government has filed a brief on its intent to have at least one FBI forensic accountant read emails from Manafort in court, "because they represent Manafort's statements" and "are not hearsay." Two FBI forensic accountants are on the government's witness list: Morgan Magionos and Renee Michael.
Both have experience with the Manafort investigation, and have reviewed and analyzed thousands of documents, financial records and emails, according to the government.