Gates, star witness against Manafort, concludes testimony

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On his second day on the stand in the trial of his former business partner, political consultant and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates testified that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort pressed for a secretary of the Army appointment for one of the lenders who had given him money despite falsified income information on the documents.

Paul Manafort's protege on Wednesday wrapped up his testimony after implicating the former Trump campaign chairman and himself in financial crimes and also enduring stinging attacks on his character and credibility.

Welch also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years.

Gates, who had been on stand for more than seven hours by conclusion of Tuesday's testimony, is anticipated to be on stand for an additional hour more of cross-examination, according to Manafort's attorneys. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said. Gates said the money he took was sent to his account in the United Kingdom and was never disclosed to his accountants or the US government.

"Mr Downing, I've made many mistakes over many years", said Gates, before being cut off by the judge, who snapped: "This isn't the time for that".

Prosecutor Greg Andres addressed the defence lawyer's questions about whether the special counsel's office had tried to coach Gates on how to testify.

Rick Gates said under questioning from Manafort's lawyer 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.

Downing seized on those admissions to try and cast doubt on whether the jury can trust Gates' claims that he only carried out the fraud alleged by prosecutors at Manafort's behest.

The exchange between Gates and Manafort's team could be a key moment in the first case that Mueller's team has taken to trial as part of its broad investigation into Russian election meddling. Manafort made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before he took an unpaid position with the Trump campaign that lasted five months.

Gates' earlier testimony on Tuesday, meanwhile, centered on how Ukrainian businessmen paid Manafort for his consultancy work.

In a final back and forth between lawyers over Gates's credibility, the focus turned to his decision to plead guilty and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which Manafort's defence have portrayed as an attempt to save his own skin.

Ellis, known for his courtroom humor and occasional scolding of lawyers, has set strict boundaries on Manafort's trial. He said he engaged in the wrongdoing at Manafort's direction.

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In one example, Manafort and Gates emailed each other copies of a doctored profit and loss statement they later sent a bank to help Manafort obtain a loan.

And after Rick Gates finished giving his close-up angle on Manafort's financial doings, the prosecution zoomed out to put the financial charges all into context.

Overall, the accountant traced more than $65 million flowing into offshore accounts controlled by Manafort, and she detailed for jurors how more than $15.5 million flowed out to fund his lavish lifestyle between 2010 and 2014.

As Manafort came under pressure to pay his bills, he was forced to seek loans, the court heard.

A conviction of Manafort would undermine efforts by Trump and some Republican lawmakers to paint Mueller's inquiry as a political witch hunt, while an acquittal would be a setback for the special counsel.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign.

Speaking of Ellis, the 78-year-old U.S. District Court judge overseeing the Eastern Virginia trial renewed his angry tone with prosecutors Wednesday.

"I'm not happy with this judge".

The judge has belittled and yelled at prosecutors in front of the jury and made comments that could undercut the prosecutor's case and help the defense.

"I would be surprised, given what's occurred in the Manafort trial, if Judge Ellis didn't issue this relatively standard instruction", Abramson said.

If he is too tough, Rossi said, the jury might "start to feel sorry for the prosecution".

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