Day seven of the Paul Manafort trial took a technical turn Wednesday, an indication that prosecutors could be wrapping up their case against the former Trump campaign chairman. Instead, the super-lobbyist's longtime right-hand man abided about a final hour of questioning, capping his three days in the courtroom.
Gates, meanwhile, wearing dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, cut a lonely figure at the witness stand, blinking hard. The last gasp of the defense team's attacks landed with one final accusation in front of the jury: that Gates had cheated on his wife several times over the years. These questions about Gates' extramarital tryst also carried faint echoes of Trump, coming less than a month after the release of a tape in which Trump can be heard discussing buying the rights to the story of a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him.
Wednesday's drama comes after Gates spent large chunks of Monday and Tuesday on the stand detailing a long list of crimes he and Manafort committed, sometimes together, sometimes separately.
Gates also admitted, however, that the same tricks he used to help doctor and falsify records for Manafort he also deployed for his own personal gain in order to covertly wire funds out of Manafort's offshore accounts to line his own pockets.
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Prosecutors sought to soften the blow of the cross-examination by asking Gates to acknowledge his own crimes, including a lie to Mueller's team in February.
"The only answer I was told was to tell the truth", Gates replied.
The judge asked for clarification.
"Downing, I'd say I made many mistakes, over many years".
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When it was his turn to question Gates, defense attorney Kevin Downing went on the offensive, pressing him on what amount of time he would have expected to face in prison had he not agreed to cooperate with the government.
The two witnesses who followed Gates gave the government a greater voice in the proceedings than it's had so far. In one case, she alleged that foreign accounts were used by Manafort to pay for more than $3.5 million in home improvements.
Wednesday's testimony was focused on the tax fraud allegations against Paul Manafort.
And how large it was. 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.
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Mr Downing forced Gates to admit he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort by filing bogus personal expenses claims and that he had engaged in an extramarital affair and kept an apartment in London for that goal. Many of those could have been business expenses, the agent said, but the other millions of dollars certainly should have been disclosed to the IRS as income. He admitted to committing fraud on a massive scale and extorting money from Manafort, along with assisting his former boss in filing false tax returns and bank fraud. "In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts", Gates said.
Throughout the trial, tensions have been evident between Ellis and prosecutors.
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It's not yet clear who will be called to testify as the trial kicks back into gear Thursday morning.
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Before jurors are sent off to deliberate at the end of a case, the judge typically tells them not to read anything into either the judge's words or body language, attorney and law professor Seth Abramson said in an email.