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Gate's testimony ends under attack by ex-Trump aide Manafort's lawyer

August 08. 2018 11:16PM

ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Star government witness Rick Gates ended three days of testimony on Wednesday after admitting he lied, stole money and cheated on his wife, as lawyers for President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort attacked his character.

Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing got in a final shot in federal court in Alexandria, Va., raising the possibility Gates had four extramarital affairs and then asking if he had a “secret life” from 2010 to 2014.

“I have made many mistakes over many years,” replied Gates, 46, a married father of four.

Downing had completed the bulk of his cross-examination on Tuesday, firing questions at Gates for several hours as he sought to portray him as an inveterate liar and thief to undermine his credibility with the jury.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts. According to trial testimony, he used the accounts to receive millions of dollars in payments from Ukrainian oligarchs.

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant, is the first person to be tried on charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Manafort made millions of dollars working for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before he took an unpaid position with the Trump campaign that lasted five months.

Gates, who worked as Manafort’s right-hand man for a decade, served as deputy chairman of the Trump campaign. He pleaded guilty to charges in February and is cooperating for the possibility of a reduced sentence.

He testified at length about how he and Manafort doctored and backdated financial documents, hid foreign income and falsified tax returns. He said he engaged in the wrongdoing at Manafort’s direction.

He also admitted to leading a “secret life,” embezzling funds from his former boss Manafort, and getting involved in other shady dealings. And the defense has tried to pin much of the blame for the financial crimes on him.

After the cross-examination concluded, prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates whether the special counsel’s office had tried to coach him on how to testify.

“The only answer I was told was to tell the truth,” Gates replied.

Prosecutors have said they hope to finish presenting their case by the end of the week. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis has repeatedly prodded them to move swiftly while seemingly giving the defense more latitude.

Although questions tied to the Trump campaign have been severely limited at trial, Manafort remains a central figure in the broader inquiry into the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia, including a 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Russians promised “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and his role in watering down the 2016 Republican Party platform position on Ukraine.

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