Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates by pressing him on his own lies to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators, an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss. That includes even using his position as Trump campaign chairman to sway a banker for a few more million dollars, according to court filings and previous testimony.
Manafort, the high-powered political consultant, is facing 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud and a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty.
Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant, is the first person to be tried on charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Gates acknowledged that he did for two months and that he took first-class flights and stayed in "fancy hotels" around Europe, but said the money came from bonuses rather than illicit gains.
Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work.
Ellis encouraged both the prosecution and the defense to not try his patience with unnecessary objections or other delays.
Gates told the court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he had met with government lawyer Greg Andres and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents 20 times and been told only to tell the truth, without any guarantee that he will be spared prison. Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate. Downing had said he wanted to ask the question because it spoke to whether Gates had lied to Mueller's office, and whether Gates' plea agreement would still be valid.More news: China, Germany defend Iran business ties as US sanctions grip
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Gates, meanwhile, wearing dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, cut a lonely figure at the witness stand, blinking hard. That, Downing said, would invalidate his plea deal.
Paul Manafort's former business partner, Rick Gates, is on the stand for the third straight day in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial as prosecutors and defense lawyers wage their battle over Gates' credibility.
Gates' testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat. Prosecutors had previously said that Manafort's interactions with Calk were the only part of the trial expected to overlap with his Trump campaign role.
Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano on Wednesday said Judge T.S. Ellis has shown "an extraordinary bias" against prosecutors in the criminal trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDefense in Manafort trial zeroes in on Gates's "secret life" Manafort's former accountant fired from firm after testifying Giuliani: Negotiations for Trump-Mueller interview "near the end" MORE.
He testified at length about how he and Manafort doctored and backdated financial documents, hid foreign income and falsified tax returns. Gates was initially charged with Manafort but pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in February.
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. Referring to Manafort's pretrial confinement, Trump asked whether Manafort was being treated worse than Al Capone.
During cross examination, Manafort's attorneys pointed out Gates' extramarital affairs, including a woman in London who may have had a hand in the financial crimes Gates to which admitted, Politico reported.
"They failed to check the box that Mr. Manafort had a foreign bank account", IRS agent Michael Welch said, later adding: "He should have marked the box, 'Yes'".