Gates, star witness against Manafort, concludes testimony

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

The star witness in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial says the former Trump campaign chairman told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gates, meanwhile, wearing dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, cut a lonely figure at the witness stand, blinking hard.

"I'm not happy with this judge", Napolitano said on Fox News.

Asked if he had been coached, Gates replied, "The only answer I was told was to tell the truth".

Rick Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents. Gates said the money in these accounts was earned from Manafort's political campaign work.

The case has little to do with either man's work for the Trump campaign and there's been no discussion during the trial about whether the Trump election effort coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

Gates also admitted in the Eastern District of Virginia courtroom to an extramarital affair 10 years ago and keeping an apartment in London, saying he falsified hundreds of thousands of dollars in expense reports because "I was living beyond my means". Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Trump's presidential campaign.

Rick Gates has finished his testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss, Paul Manafort, after one last effort by defense lawyers to erode his credibility. Downing asking, drawing an immediate objection from Greg Andres, the special counsel's lead prosecutor.

Manafort, 69, is the first defendant to go to court to fight charges stemming from Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. During cross examination, defense attorney Downing tried to undermine Gates' credibility, noting the benefits he had gotten from his deal with the government, the fact that he made a false statement to investigators, his "scheme" to embezzle from Manafort, and even his "secret life" with a mistress.

During this period Gates said he falsified the firm's financial statements to support mortgage loan applications and misled bankers by submitting old home insurance policy information to make it appear Manafort owned the property, although current policy showed a mortgage loan.

Gates, Manafort's longtime right-hand man, pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss. These questions about Gates' extramarital tryst also carried faint echoes of Trump, coming less than a month after the release of a tape in which Trump can be heard discussing buying the rights to the story of a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him.

Manafort, 69, faces tax evasion and bank fraud charges, as he is accused of hiding a "significant percentage" of income earned from his lobbyist work in Ukraine from the IRS.

"They failed to check the box that Mr. Manafort had a foreign bank account", Welch said, later adding.

The prosecution's case against Manafort doesn't rest exclusively on Gates.

In one exchange published in court Wednesday, Manafort instructs his Cypriot lawyer, Kypros Chrysostomides - referred to in court as "Dr. K" because, according to Gates, his name is hard to spell and pronounce - to transfer money from the Manafort-controlled Leviathan Ltd. On Tuesday, Downing straight out asked Gates: "After all the lies you've told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" Manafort welcomed more than $65 million from Ukrainian political backers' foreign entities into his own secret Cypriot and other offshore accounts during Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's four years in office, according to Magionos. Cindy Laporta, one of the accountants, also testified that Manafort and Gates had used phony loan documents to improperly reduce Manafort's income and lower his tax bill.

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