Prosecutor: Rick Gates may not testify in Manafort trial
In a shocking admission Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said Rick Gates may not testify in the trial of his former business partner Paul Manafort.
Mr. Gates, who oversaw some of the financial dealings of Mr. Manafort’s consulting business, was expected to be a key witness for the government.
But prosecutor Uso Asonye said jurors may not hear from Mr. Gates after all.
“He may testify, he may not,” Mr. Asonye told Judge T.S. Ellis III.
The revelation sent journalists and others out of the courtroom to report the disclosure.
“That’s news to me and about 25 others who scurried out of here like rats on a sinking ship,” Judge Ellis shot back.
Mr. Asonye attempted to backtrack, telling Judge Ellis that the evidence presented will determine if Mr. Gates’ testifies.
That drew a sharp rebuke from Judge Ellis.
“You know who you are going to call,” He said. “If you are going to call him then this is a waste of time.”
The exchange occurred during the testimony of FBI agent Mathew Mikuska, who raided Mr. Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia condo last year.
While discussing some of the financial records seized during the raid, Mr. Mikuska began describing a document put together by Mr. Gates.
Judge Ellis interrupted the testing to say the agent’s testimony is unnecessary because Mr. Gates will testify.
On Tuesday, Mr. Manafort’s attorneys accused Mr. Gates of being the mastermind behind the crimes lodged against their client.