Manafort team attacks star witness over affair, fraud and 'so many lies'

Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans

Gates' testimony concluded Wednesday following three days worth of questioning, during which he detailed how he and Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign bank accounts and falsifying bank accounts. Instead, prosecutors for Mueller have accuse Manafort of hiding at least $30 million that he earned while representing Russia's neighboring country of Ukraine and its president, Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gates described to jurors how he repeatedly submitted fake financial documents at Manafort's behest as his former boss became concerned he was paying too much in taxes and, later, that his funds were drying up. Gates said that these loans were actually income.

But Kevin Downing, an attorney representing Manafort, got in one final swipe at Gates before his testimony came to an end.

After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight.

The lawyer, Kevin Downing, was trying to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by directing him to help hide his foreign income and to submit phony mortgage and tax documents on his behalf.

Both Manafort and Gates were indicted past year on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

"I have made many mistakes over many years", Gates, 46, replied.

Gates testified on Tuesday that he once had an extramarital affair that involved maintaining a London apartment.

Defence lawyers for Paul Manafort made a last-ditch attempt on Wednesday to torpedo the key witness at his trial by asking whether he failed to disclose four extramarital affairs.

Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong outcome of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.

On Tuesday, Gates was forced to answer questions about past infidelity, his embezzlement and what Manafort had directed him to do while in his employment. Manafort is the only American charged by special counsel Robert Mueller for trial, whereas Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors by testifying against his former boss.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has made headlines in recent days for his clashes with the prosecutors, including pressing them on the speed and merits of the prosecution and suggesting one prosecutor was so discouraged he was crying in the courtroom.

Lawyers for Mr Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, hammered Rick Gates about his own crimes.

Prosecutors in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial say they have eight witnesses left and expect to rest their case Friday.

He told jurors he embezzled from Mr Manafort by filing false expense reports. Gates said he was responsible for collecting all relevant documents for the loan applications.

He barked at U.S. Attorney Greg Andres to "focus sharply" - a common refrain of his over the past week - when Andres asked permission for Magionos to testify about charts she put together detailing the flow of money from Manafort's foreign accounts to various vendors in the U.S.

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the U.S. tax authorities.

Cindy Laporta, a tax accountant for Manafort, testified Monday under immunity that she helped file falsified bank loan applications for him even though she knew they were inaccurate.

Manafort was on Trump's campaign team from March to August 2016, starting as a delegate-wrangler and serving as campaign chairman in the last three months.

Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano told Dana Perino that he found Rick Gates to be a convincing witness, while pointing out that everything that Gates did seems "an encyclopedic example of the swamp that President Trump said he would drain".

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