My, my, my. Today’s Manafort trial happenings may have been a bit of a snore in the beginning, but Rick Gates just dropped a bunch of bombs, telling the story of the crime spree he and Paul Manafort were on together, while also admitting his own private embezzlement of Manafort funds.
Today’s testimony began with the cross-examination of Cindy Laporta, with the defense trying to pin everything on Rick Gates, before prosecutors put the Main Witness on the stand, at which time the testimony made everyone sit up straight.
Gates testified to all of the crimes, including the ones Manafort is charged with and more. He admitted to everyone that not only had he committed crimes with Manafort, he also embezzled funds from him by doctoring up expense reports and submitting them for transfer of funds from the same overseas accounts money was moving from to support Manafort’s lifestyle.
Gates only testified for about an hour or so before court was recessed for the day, leaving jurors to mull over the facts, which include the confession of Paul Manafort’s protégé and business partner that he didn’t just commit crimes, but he committed crimes with Paul Manafort.
One of the conditions of Gates’ plea agreement is that he admit to everything he did and tell the absolute truth in this trial. Given his testimony today, the jury will now mull over the fact that Rick Gates has confessed to the very same crimes they are being asked to convict Paul Manafort of.
As Ken Dilanian noted in his report above, “Cooperators are not the sisters of mercy.” Indeed, it would appear that Paul Manafort is discovering that first hand, about 20 feet away from Rick Gates as he sits on the witness stand.