Credibility of star witness questioned as Gates wraps testimony at Manafort trial

Gates told the court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he had met with government lawyer Greg Andres and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents 20 times and been told only to tell the truth, without any guarantee that he will be spared prison.

Gates testified they were not loans but compensation to Manafort.

Four employees at Dr. K's firm established and named the entities - Leviathan Ltd. and Peranova Ltd. are two of the more high-profile examples - where Manafort and Gates held millions of dollars of payments to Manafort's Davis Manafort Partners (DMP) and DMP International from their overseas political clients.

Prosecutors summoned Gates, described by witnesses as Manafort's "right-hand man, " to give jurors the first-hand account of a co-conspirator they say helped Manafort carry out an elaborate offshore tax-evasion and bank fraud scheme. He's expected to go for at least another hour in questioning with Manafort's attorney's.

But it was Gates' testimony that has generated the most drama, as the witness admitted embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his boss, confessed to an extramarital affair and turned in spectacular fashion against a longtime mentor.

Gates appeared to be referring to his decision to enter into a plea agreement with the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for his trial testimony.

Prosecutor Greg Andres pointed out he had created a "loan forgiveness letter between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Manafort". And the fact that after loaning Manafort millions of dollars Calk became an economic adviser to Trump casts doubt on Trump's famous pledge to "drain the swamp" and puncture the rampant influence peddling in Washington.

In prosecutors' questioning, then in a combative cross-examination from the defense team, Gates revealed the extent to which he had siphoned money from his boss and committed a host of other misdeeds.

In one email, Manafort wrote "WTF" and "not happy" about tax payments he was going to have to make, Gates said. 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.

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Defense attorney Kevin Downing pushed as hard as he could for the last two hours of Tuesday's proceedings to get a rise out of Gates, who refused to engage with more than flat, passionless responses.

Downing asked if Gates had submitted personal expenses to the Trump inaugural committee.

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

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.

The vendors testified about how Manafort paid for his luxury goods, including cars and custom suits, by using direct wire transfers from accounts overseas. That area of questions could come first thing Wednesday morning, when Gates returns to the stand to face more of Downing's inquisition.

Mr Mueller's team is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether any Trump associates conspired with those efforts. "Mr. Manafort had the same path", Gates said. Prosecutors allege that he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.

On Wednesday, Downing sought to counter earlier testimony that Manafort had encouraged Gates to deceive authorities by getting Gates to acknowledge that Manafort told him to be truthful about offshore shell companies and bank accounts during a 2014 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

And Gates faced fraud charges from the special counsel after it discovered he had written a letter to a Swiss movie production company falsely claiming that his own production company was investing in a film project by his friend, Steve Brown.

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