The trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort took a decisive turn on Monday when his former business partner — and Trump’s Deputy Campaign Manager — Rick Gates, took the stand to testify against him.
Despite efforts by Manafort’s defense team to paint Gates as having swindled Manafort without his knowledge, when asked by federal prosecutors if he’d committed a crime with Paul Manafort, Gates answered in the affirmative.
Rick Gates has taken the stand in the Manafort case.
Prosecutor Uzo Asonye asked, "Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?" Gates answered, "Yes."
"Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?" Asonye said.
"Yes," said Gates.
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 6, 2018
Gates testified that, under orders from Manafort over a number of years, he made wire transfers from offshore accounts and didn’t report them, as well as failing to file a foreign bank account record. He also admitted to stealing from Manafort and others.
Gates’s testimony is crucial to the Special Counsel’s case. Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III warned the prosecutors that the bar for conviction is high, and that they wouldn’t be able to prove conspiracy if Gates didn’t take the witness stand.
The testimony is making waves across social media.
I have seen some cold stares in my life but watching Paul Manafort stare down his former deputy, arms crossed, as Rick Gates recounted the long list of his alleged crimes was remarkable. #ManafortTrial
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 6, 2018
In court now:
Prosecutor on Mueller’s team asks Rick Gates if he committed crimes with Paul Manafort.
“Yes,” Gates says.
First time a senior Trump campaign official has confessed to a crime on the stand.
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) August 6, 2018
Rick Gates testifies that he and Paul Manafort had 15 foreign accounts they did not report to the federal government, and knew it was illegal. He said he did not submit the required forms "at Mr. Manafort's direction."
— David P Gelles (@gelles) August 6, 2018
Rick Gates, who just confessed under oath to knowingly committing dozens of crimes with Paul Manafort, was the #2 ranking official in the Trump campaign.
He ran the day to day operations.
After Trump was elected he was on the inaugural committee.
Helped form Trump's PAC.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) August 6, 2018
Unlike Gates, Paul Manafort pleaded “not guilty” last year to numerous charges of conspiracy and fraud. Gates’s words in court on Monday are the latest in what’s been a tempestuous road for Manafort since his indictment in October 2017.