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Gates Describes Manafort Orders While Defense Hammers 'Secret Life'

Gates Describes Manafort Orders While Defense Hammers 'Secret Life'

Gates was hired by Manafort to serve as deputy campaign chairman and later had a role on Mr Trump's inaugural committee.

For the last two days in court, Gates has testified that he and Manafort committed bank and tax fraud together.

Gates admitted to a litany of crimes Tuesday as Downing, Manafort's lead defense attorney, hammered him for enriching himself on his boss's dime, executing tax evasion and bank fraud schemes of his own, and lying to the special counsel's investigators.

"After all the lies you told you expect this jury to believe you?" Gates pleaded guilty months later and agreed to cooperate in Mueller's investigation of Manafort, the only American charged by the special counsel to opt for trial instead of a guilty plea.

Asked if had also claimed unauthorised personal expenses from the inaugural committee, Gates replied "It's possible".

Paul Manafort's former "right-hand man" admitted Tuesday that he embezzled from their consulting firm, engaged in fraud, lied to the special counsel, and conducted an worldwide extramarital affair.

"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.

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. 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 conceded it was "in excess of 50 to 100 years", but said any eventual sentence - including avoiding jail by receiving probation - would be up to a judge. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.

Cindy Laporta, a tax accountant for Manafort, testified Monday under immunity that she helped file falsified bank loan applications for him even though she knew they were inaccurate. 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. Gates said he was guilty, having wired money from Cyprus through the United Kingdom to the U.S. without paying taxes on it for himself.

Gates appeared nervous on the witness stand at the court in Alexandria, Virginia, blinking frequently, his throat apparently dry as he spoke.

Earlier on Tuesday, the prosecution had continued to question Gates, who described how millions of dollars were allegedly funnelled from entities controlled by Ukrainian businessmen into Manafort's shell companies in Cyprus. But inside the courtroom, trial proceedings had plodded along almost Trump-free.

The lawyer, Kevin Downing, was trying to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by directing him to help hide his foreign income and to submit phony mortgage and tax documents on his behalf.

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

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out that he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort".

Jurors saw emails from Manafort imploring Gates to help a banker, Stephen Calk, make inroads into the campaign, inauguration and administration.

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income.

During questioning by prosecutors on Tuesday morning, Gates said that Manafort had emailed him in late 2016 asking for the incoming Trump administration to consider tapping Federal Savings Bank Chief Executive Steve Calk for Secretary of the Army. Manafort broke his stare only to review government exhibits on a small monitor in front of him.

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