Prosecutor Greg Andres immediately objected and Downing did not return to the subject after a hushed consultation among the lawyers with Judge T.S. Ellis.
The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess. The last gasp of the defense team's attacks landed with one final accusation in front of the jury: that Gates had cheated on his wife several times over the years.
So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign. Gates recounted how he and Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS. Mr Downing asked Gates.
Attorney Kevin Downing suggested the revelation would destroy Rick Gates's plea agreement with the special counsel's office but was blocked by an instant government objection.
Manafort's defense team says it was actually Gates who committed the financial crimes, without Manafort knowing, and Manafort's lawyers also have sought to exploit the guilty plea that Gates has accepted after he was indicted on related charges. "They may think he's a sleazebag - but that's not going to make them overturn how they view the documents", the former attorney said.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a third superseding indictment against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, U.S., June 15, 2018.
Paul Manafort collected more than $65 million in foreign accounts for his Ukrainian political work from 2010-2014 and spent more than $15 million in the same period on real estate, landscaping, home improvement and luxury items like his ostrich and python jackets, an Federal Bureau of Investigation witness told jurors on Wednesday.More news: Boris Johnson was RIGHT on burka ban comments, senior Imam says
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Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
"After all the lies you've told, and the fraud you've committed, you expect the jury will believe you?" Gates also said Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk's name for consideration as Secretary of the Army, a post he ultimately did not get.
The face-off between longtime business associates and former senior members of the Trump campaign drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings.
Rick Gates is seen on the witness stand as a message between he and his former boss, Paul Manafort, appears before the court during Manafort's trial in Virginia. Courtroom illustration courtesy of Bill Hennessy.
During his three days of testimony, Gates laid out in detail how payments to Manafort's company from political work in Ukraine were made to bank accounts in Cyprus and the money was never reported to accountants or the Internal Revenue Service.
When Yanukovych lost power, Gates testified that "decreased the income stream" significantly for Manafort, and his financial situation "substantially decreased" from prior years.
But the defense team has taken on the the daunting task of convincing jurors that Gates, who was in constant communication with Manafort and carrying out his wishes, is an unreliable witness who had simply gone rogue and independently made a decision to boost his boss' personal income over a period of several years.