Manafort trial: Star witness testifies against ex-Trump aide

Rick Gates the star witness in the case against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort

As part of the plea deal, Gates said prosecutors agreed to not to pursue charges against him for the additional crimes and to drop a second indictment in Alexandria accusing him of bank and tax fraud.

During his testimony, star witness Gates has been very up-front about his own activities-testifying that he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, defrauded the USA government, falsified documents to banks, laundered money, lied in a deposition and was guilty of all the fraud and tax evasion charges he was accused of. Gates said he spoke to LaPorta about listing the property as a residence.

Gates' potential sentence would dramatically increase, the jury was told, if he was untruthful on the witness stand.

Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax and banking crimes, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Critical testimony expected at the trial of President Trump's former campaign chair as Manafort's right-hand man set to take the stand as early as Monday; reaction and analysis from James Trusty, former Justice Department prosecutor.

Asked whether the money in the accounts was Manafort's income, Gates said, "it was". One accounting trick saved Manafort $US500,000 in taxes, she said.

Mr Mueller is also investigating possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Russian officials in the election campaign, but the charges against Mr Manafort do not address that.

Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars.

It's important to note that some of the alleged bank fraud did occur while Manafort was running the Trump campaign. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting that he had been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

Since the trial started before US District Judge T.S. Ellis last Tuesday, Manafort's lawyers have kept their cross-examinations brief and at times refrained from attempting to rebut damaging testimony in detail.

The charges relate to Manafort's work for Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin president, Viktor Yanukovich.

"When we try to describe the work, Your Honor stops us and tell us to move on", he said.

Gates testified that he knowingly violated federal tax law by not disclosing 15 foreign bank accounts owned by him and Manafort to United States authorities.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

All told, prosecutors allege that Manafort failed to report a "significant percentage" of the more than $60 million they say he received from Ukrainian oligarchs. Laporta said she had no indication that the loan from Deripaska had been paid off. Kerik, on the other hand, isn't putting any weight on Gates' words because of his motivation for testifying.

Prosecutors are hoping that testimony from Gates, who has firsthand knowledge of Manafort's actions, will convince a jury of Manafort's guilt.

Gates did embezzle money from Manafort by adding money to expense reports and creating fake expense reports altogether, he admitted Monday.

Laporta thought that was odd, so she asked Gates for information about the $2.4 million Manafort was supposedly owed.

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