Rick Gates, the star prosecution witness in the fraud and corruption case against former Trump campaign manager and lobbyist Paul Manafort, admitted under cross-examination by the defense Tuesday that he may have submitted improper claims to the committee organizing President Trump’s 2017 inauguration — in addition to his already admitted embezzlement against his and Mr. Manafort’s old firm.
Under questioning by Manafort defense lawyer Kevin Downing, Mr. Gates said it was “possible” that he may have improperly submitted personal expenses to the Trump inaugural committee of which he was a member. While Mr. Manafort was dismissed from the campaign in the summer of 2016, Mr. Gates stayed on with the Trump transition team into early 2017.
Mr. Downing asked Mr. Gates if he had informed the office of special counsel Robert Mueller III, which brought the Manafort case, whether he had submitted personal expenses for reimbursement to the Trump inauguration organization.
“To my recollection, the inauguration committee expenses were reviewed very closely,” Mr. Gates responded.
“Did you submit personal expenses?” Mr. Downing persisted.
“It’s possible,” Mr. Gates replied.
As part of his own plea bargain with the Mueller investigation, Mr. Gates had previously disclosed incidents when he had himself stolen money from the lobbying firm Mr. Manafort founded. But Tuesday’s testimony could call his credibility as a witness against his former boss even further into question, if it can be proved he committed more financial crimes beyond his time with Mr. Manafort.
Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.