Rick Gates says he and Manafort disguised foreign income as loans

Paul Manafort

The testimony of Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's longtime deputy and the star witness in the government's bank-fraud and tax-evasion case against the former Trump campaign manager, came to a dramatic end Wednesday with defense attorneys accusing him of lying about the number of extramarital affairs he's had.

FBI forensic accountant Morgan Magionos walked jurors through her special counsel-ordained investigation that revealed how Manafort purchased luxury goods back in the USA through foreign bank accounts.

An FBI forensic accountant also testified $60 million flowed through Manafort's accounts from 2010 to 2014, and he spent $15 million of that on homes, clothes, and personal purchases.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.

Neither man was charged in connection with their Trump campaign work, but the trial has nonetheless been a distraction for a president who insists Manafort was treated shabbily and who continues to publicly fume about Mueller's investigation into potential ties between his associates and the Kremlin.

Mr Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, has indicted more than 30 people - including 26 Russians - in connection with his probe into whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to help get the real estate tycoon elected.

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

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"I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said in response to a question from Downing about his trustworthiness.

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.

He also admitted to embezzling "several hundred thousand" dollars from Manafort including funds used to finance a London apartment to engage in an extra-marital affair.

But Gates did not answer Downing's question after the prosecution objected to the relevance of the inquiry.

Manafort, who helped Republicans Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan reach the White House, was Mr Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.

Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

"After all the lies you've told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"

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As he has repeatedly noted, President Donald Trump is not directly implicated in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial.

Prosecutors also introduced emails from Manafort to vendors of luxury items he bought in which he promises payment via wire transfers from "my" account, citing some of the offshore entities he is accused of using to hide his wealth.

Gates said under questioning Wednesday that he told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and Justice Department lawyers about some of the offshore companies that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work.

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

In December 2016, Manafort sent an "urgent" email to Gates including Calk and Calk's son on a list of people Manafort wanted to receive invitations to Trump's inauguration.

Gates testified that he and Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.

"I think the jury will hate (Gates), but they should still convict (Manafort) because of the testimony of other witnesses and the other documents that do put all of this on Manafort".

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Perhaps the Gates saga could boil down to one exchange about crime and consequences, and the decision he had made to turn on Manafort.

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