Star witness Rick Gates to testify for third day in Manafort trial

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Manafort was chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and his longtime deputy was part of the campaign, too.

Manafort, who helped Republicans Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan reach the White House, was Mr Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016.

On Tuesday, Gates was forced to answer questions about past infidelity, his embezzlement and what Manafort had directed him to do while in his employment.

Downing summed up his questioning by asking Gates: "After all these lies, and the fraud you have committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"

Gates said he did not. He scoffed at the idea that Gates had repented for his actions, noting that prosecutors have said they won't oppose his bid for probation and getting him to acknowledge he had not repaid the money he had taken from Manafort. And Manafort made millions of dollars working as a political consultant for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine before he worked for the Trump campaign, which could raise questions about Trump's friendly rhetoric towards the country.

On Wednesday, Gates initially testified Manafort told him to be truthful during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation about offshore shell companies and bank accounts that contained millions of dollars in proceeds from their Ukrainian political work. Gates also said he may have submitted personal expenses for reimbursement by Trump's inaugural committee, which he helped operate. At one point, as Gates had trouble recalling the details of his confession, Downing asked him, "Have they confronted you with so many lies that you can't even remember them?"

"The government raised an issue whether or not we were going to cross-examine Mr. Gates about specific acts of marital infidelity", Downing told Judge Ellis. The defense moved on. Through patient explanation, volumes of otherwise dry and somewhat confusing evidence regarding tax evasion was brought into context by special counsel Robert Mueller's star witness.

During his testimony Monday, Gates admitted he had embezzled money from Manafort by creating false expense reports on his own behalf. He also said he committed credit card and mortgage fraud, falsified a letter for a colleague involved in an investment deal and made false statements in a deposition at Manafort's direction.

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After saying Monday that he committed crimes with Manafort, including concealing offshore accounts to avoid reporting them to the USA government at tax time and claiming false income to get loans, Manafort defense attorney Kevin Downing asked the witness, "This jury is just supposed to believe you after all the lies that you've told and the fraud you've committed?"

"They were documented as loans, but in reality they were funds moving between the accounts".

On Tuesday, defense attorney Kevin Downing appeared to be pressing Rick Gates to admit he had an extramarital affair as part of the effort to discredit his testimony against Paul Manafort. He's expected to go for at least another hour in questioning with Manafort's attorney's.

Prosecutors showed contracts laying out that Manafort would be paid $4 million a year in quarterly installments of $1 million, all channeled through Cyprus.

Gates and Manafort first met with Dr. K to set up the companies in 2007 in Cyprus, Gates testified.

In 2015 and 2016, Gates said, Manafort "requested a team of people to pull together" documents to apply for bank loans in order to keep pace with payments to maintain his luxurious lifestyle. Gates also said Manafort floated banker Stephen Calk's name for consideration as Secretary of the Army, a post he ultimately did not get.

Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.

For most of his testimony, Gates did not look at Mr Manafort, while the defendant stared intently at his former partner.

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