The Sixth Day of Paul Manafort's Trial Was Indirectly About Donald Trump

Under questioning, Gates said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate.

Downing wondered aloud why Gates had shown "perfect recollection" during examination by the government but was now much less precise under cross-examination by Manafort's defence.

In general, references to Trump at the trial have been few and far between.

Rick Gates, the government's star witness, 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.

Defense lawyers wrapped up their questioning of Gates Wednesday following a bruising cross-examination that focused on Gates's own crimes, an extramarital affair and a guilty plea with special counsel Robert Mueller's office that may spare him severe punishment. "You know. Yeah, because on the one hand Gates stole money from him but on the other hand he clearly learned everything that Manafort taught him".

The 46-year-old, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating with the government, began the day by describing how he helped Manafort evade U.S. taxes on millions of dollars earned from political consulting work they did in Ukraine.

Gates is cooperating in hopes of a lighter prison sentence. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.

The prosecution produced an undated email exchange between Mr Manafort and Mr Gates which outlines the amount of tax the campaign chief might have to pay.

Prosecutors had braced for the tough questioning by getting Gates to come clean about his own crimes. Gates said the money in these accounts was earned from Manafort's political campaign work.

Gates struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller in February, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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The case against Manafort 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 campaign coordinated with Russian Federation - the central question Mueller's team has tried to answer.

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

"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the USA tax authorities. 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. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army. Gates came on board the Trump campaign with Manafort and stayed for the duration of the campaign, later serving as deputy chairman for Trump's inaugural committee and then starting a pro-Trump PAC.

In fact, his name was barely mentioned in the first five days of the tax and bank fraud case brought against his former campaign chairman.

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.

Update from the Paul Manafort trial: Rick Gates admitted... everything in testimony yesterday.

In detailed testimony this week, Gates has walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. "I already admitted on the record that I took unauthorised funds from Mr Manafort".

For this Manafort was paid US$4million a year, in quarterly payments of US$1million, Gates recalled, though at some point the currency switched from U.S. dollars to Euros.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans.

Mr Manafort's trial in Alexandria is the first to arise out the Mueller probe and marks a major public test of that investigation's credibility. Gates did not have a chance to respond to those allegations Monday.

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