Paul Manafort trial day 7: Rick Gates cross examination continues

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The testimony, stretching across three days, created an extraordinary courtroom showdown between the two former Trump campaign aides who were indicted together by Mueller but who have since opted for radically different strategies: Manafort is the lone American charged by Mueller to opt for trial, whereas Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to co-operate by testifying against his former boss.

It's a day that featured testimony from just one witness, Rick Gates, Manafort's longtime deputy, who finished his direct questioning from prosecutors and underwent a grueling cross-examination from lead defense attorney Kevin Downing.

But at another point Wednesday, Gates attempted to express remorse from the stand, saying "I've made many mistakes over many years".

After Gates described his theft as "unauthorized transactions" instead of embezzlement, Downing prodded him to use the latter term - and Gates ultimately relented, saying, "It was embezzlement from Mr. Manafort".

Gates, who pleaded guilty to charges in February and is co-operating for the possibility of a reduced sentence, testified that he helped Manafort falsify his tax returns, lie to banks to get loans and hide foreign bank accounts.

Paul Manafort's former accountant was sacked from a Virginia firm after she told the court she was aware that Manafort's tax returns contained false information.

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.

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

"Did you commit crimes with Mr Manafort?" prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates. Manafort and Gates left no fingerprints.

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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. She said Manafort's passport was used to open many of them in US dollars, euros and British pounds.

Gates said under questioning 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.

Gates appeared shaky at times in answering questions, contrasting sharply with his firm and clear answers to questions by prosecutors. During cross examination, defense attorney Downing tried to undermine Gates' credibility, noting the benefits he had gotten from his deal with the government, the fact that he made a false statement to investigators, his "scheme" to embezzle from Manafort, and even his "secret life" with a mistress.

Gates' ongoing testimony on Tuesday - the sixth day of Manafort's fraud trial - came one day after he testified that he'd committed crimes with Manafort.

Gates also said that he did not report 15 foreign offshore bank accounts to the government.

Although we've seen a lot of the numbers throughout the trial, Tuesday offered the best glimpse into just how anxious Manafort was about paying bills, specifically his tax bill.

In the email, exchange, Gates tells his boss he plans to wire money from Leviathan - one of Manafort's many Cypriot shelf accounts - to the U.S. At the email, he asks for Manafort's permission.

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. "I'm here", Gates said from the witness chair.

Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, said that in Downing's remaining hour of cross-examination on Wednesday, he needs to keep painting Gates as an unreliable person who can not be trusted. He also admitted to embezzling money from other employers in the past.

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