Gates admits to secret affairs, fraud at Manafort trial

Rick Gates admits that secret life of extramarital affairs was more extensive than he had indicated earlier

Washington: Rick Gates, the star witness in Paul Manafort’s fraud trial, concluded his testimony on Wednesday, with a defence attorney suggesting that his “secret life” included multiple extramarital affairs.

Defence attorney Kevin Downing questioned him for only eight minutes before a prosecutor asked him questions designed to restore his credibility in the eyes of the jury. Downing then dropped a bombshell question.

Gates finished his testimony on Wednesday after admitting that his secret life of cheating on his wife was more extensive than he had indicated earlier.

Gates, Manafort’s right-hand man in the consulting business and in the Trump campaign, acknowledged on Tuesday that he had an affair aided by money he stole from his boss and that he rented an apartment in London for two months. Gates said it was a mistake a decade ago that he regretted.

But on Wednesday, Downing suggested that Gates had withheld the extent of his philandering from prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Downing asked Gates whether he had told prosecutors that he had four extramarital affairs.

Prosecutor Greg Andres immediately objected and US District Judge T.S. Ellis III met in a sidebar conference with lawyers. The judge appeared to sustain the objection because Gates never answered the question. Downing had made his point.

Secret affairs

Downing then asked whether Gates’s “secret life” spanned the four-year period from 2010 to 2014, when he was embezzling from Manafort.

“I’ve made many mistakes over many years, and I regret them,” Gates said.

Downing pressed again on whether that secret life covered those four years, Gates said it did.

After questioning Gates for two hours on Tuesday, Downing finished in less than 10 minutes on Wednesday. Andres sought to rehabilitate Gates with a series of rapid-fire questions about financial machinations underpinning the tax- and bank-fraud case against Manafort. He also asked Gates about his initial admission of the affair in London.

Gates said that relationship lasted five months and that he told his wife and Manafort about it. On Tuesday he had indicated that the affair lasted just two months.

“Was he supportive?” Andres asked, referring to Manafort. Gates said yes.

“Did he fire you?” Andres asked. Gates said he didn’t.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s prosecutors, spent less than 70 minutes on the witness stand on Wednesday.

The Gates Testimony

Gates has admitted he stole money from his former boss to pay for an extramarital affair, lied to Mueller and may have submitted false expenses to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s prosecutors, testified in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he helped Manafort falsify documents and move millions of dollars from offshore accounts that were hidden from US tax authorities.

On Tuesday, Downing mocked and belittled Gates, browbeat and embarrassed him, and branded him repeatedly as a liar unworthy of the jury’s trust and respect. Gates wobbled in the first hour and appeared uncertain, but then regained his footing in the last hour of questioning.

Downing is expected to use his remaining questions to try to shred Gates’s credibility and create doubt in the minds of jurors.


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