How to explain Rick Gates, the almost-sympathetic thief and philanderer

Washington’s hottest federal case, United States v. Paul Manafort, has everything: ostrich-leather jackets, fine imported rugs, Cypriot shell corporations, infidelities in far-flung locales, double-crosses, triple-crosses, $20 million in allegedly ill-gotten loans and more than $65 million dumped in offshore accounts over four years.

But perhaps the most enigmatic fixture is Rick Gates, the prosecution’s star witness, a Manafort protege who took a plea deal to implicate his former boss in a bevy of financial crimes in 2 1 / 2 days of testimony this past week. In his time on the stand, Gates stressed that he was not the conspicuous consumer of House of Bijan attire and silk rugs that Manafort was. Then he admitted to embezzling money for his mentor, embezzling money from his mentor, using the proceeds to keep a London flat for a romantic liaison with a woman who was not his

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