What type of immunity deals did the Special Counsel give the witnesses? Let’s start with the testimony of accused embezzler Rick Gates.




After going over Gates’ background, Special Counsel sets out their criminal enterprise.

Were you involved in criminal activity?

Gates: Yes.

Did you commit crimes with Mr. Manafort?

Gates: Yes.

Government introduces the Gates plea agreement.

Judge Ellis notes that he pleaded for the DC case and not the EDVA case they’re currently trying.

It will be up to the DC judge to determine whether Gates’ cooperation was adequate.


Judge Ellis asks if the government had Gates take a polygraph (which is normal in his district).

Government: No, we didn’t have Gates do a polygraph.

[but there is a forfeiture. See Rule 32.2]

Gates reads off his plea agreement, where he was charged with (1) Conspiracy against the US; and (2) Making a false statement to the government.


The conspiracy went from 2008-2015.  Gates explains the conspiracy to file false tax returns was executed by:

1) under-reporting income

2) Not “checking” a foreign bank account schedule in the IRS tax report

Government: Did you deal with (Manafort’s) accountants?
Gates: I did.
Government: Did you lie to them?
Gates: Yes. Gates explains how Manafort would direct him to treat foreign income as loans, which would thus reduce their tax burden.
Gates admits to lying to Manaforts’ bookkeeper about the nature of their income.

On the failure to file foreign bank accounts with the Treasury Dept…

Gates: “We did not submit the required form designating that we had control over a offshore account that was in Mr. Manafort’s control.”

How many foreign accounts were there? A lot.

At least 10 accounts in Cyprus.

Two in the Grenadines.

One in the UK.

Gates explains his plea deal in DC, and how the Government agreed to drop the charges in his EDVA indictment for tax fraud, bank fraud, etc. He got quite the deal.

What particular crimes did Gates commit?

1) Used multiple foreign accounts to escape taxes
2) Provided fraudulent documents to banks
3) Altered documents

Here Gates tells the jury that he told the Government “about additional money that [he] took from Mr. Manafort that wasn’t authorized.”

The big question during tomorrow’s cross examination will be whether Gates was truthful about *how much* he took from Manafort.

Gates explains how he embezzled money from Manafort:

He created false expense reports and funneled money from Cyprus accounts to his pockets.

How much?

Gates: “I don’t have an exact number, but approximately, I’d say several hundred thousand.”

The Government gets out in front of the anticipated cross-examination of Gates by having the witness point out that he was never charged with stealing money from Manafort.

(He was only charged with “stealing” from the government.)

Tensions between the Government and Judge Ellis.

Judge: “Just listen to me. For goodness sakes. Don’t speak when I speak.”

Government gets into a long Q & A with Gates about Ukrainian politics. Judge tries to move them along.

Judge: “Next question.”

Govt: “The Government intends to –”

Judge: “Next question, sir.”

This is hilarious….

Judge: Look at me when you’re talking to me

Govt: I’m sorry Judge, I was

Judge: No you weren’t. You were looking down.

Govt: “Because I don’t want to get in trouble for some facial expression. I don’t want to get yelled at again..”

Did Judge Ellis make the Special Counsel lawyer cry???

Judge: “There’s tears in your eyes right now.”

Govt: “There are not tears in my eyes, Judge.”

Judge: “Well, they’re watery.”

Special Counsel makes the mistake of arguing with the Judge.

Judge: That’s a different matter.

Government: It’s not a different matter.

Judge: I say it’s different.

Gates continues discussing Manafort’s work in Ukraine. Then he and the jury are excused until tomorrow.

Judge then takes Government to task for poisoning the jury’s perception of Manafort’s clients. Here the Government tries to explain re: Oligarchs.


The Judge rightfully explains that whether Manafort’s clients were shady has no bearing on whether he committed tax fraud.

He’s going to cut the Government off from too much discussion of Manafort’s clients.

Judge Ellis goes on about the clients and Manafort. He then gets irritated at the Special Counsel looking down.

Judge: “When you look down, it’s as if to say, you know, that’s BS.”

The Special Counsel can’t look the judge in the eye.

The Government complains about interruptions.

Judge: “Oh, the record will reflect that I have rarely stopped you in this case.” (Techno: I have the record; true statement)

Government: “I will stand by the record as well.”

Judge: “All right. Then you will lose.”

The Judge concludes the day with thoughts on the stress of trying cases, and encourages the lawyers to simplify things.

Gates will be back up for direct, cross-examination, and redirect tomorrow.


[1] twitter