Star witness ends testimony in fraud trial of ex-Trump campaign chief

Paul Manafort's associate says 'hundreds' of emails prove former Trump campaign chief directed fraud

There have been exceptions, like when Gates said that he might have also embezzled from the Trump inauguration committee by inflating his expenses, and when he testified about how Manafort reached out to talk about securing a banker who loaned him money tickets to the inauguration and potentially a position in the administration.

But his involvement in creating those documents and executing those transactions, they have said, did not extend beyond inking his signature at the bottom.

Prosecutors have pointed out that Manafort listed the Manhattan loft as a rental on his tax returns in previous years.

In an aggressive cross-examination on Tuesday, Manafort's lead attorney Downing said to Gates: "You stole from Mr. Manafort".

Meanwhile, lawyers for Manafort blamed errors in loan paperwork on Manafort's former right-hand man Rick Gates, who was handling the process for his boss.

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.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, a 78-year-old jurist with a reputation for being tough on lawyers in his courtroom, showed none of the temper he's flashed throughout the trial, now in its second week in Alexandria, Va., and instead instructed the jury to disregard his remarks made the day before excoriating prosecutors for allowing an expert government witness to sit in the courtroom before he testified.

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Prosecutor Greg Andres addressed the defence lawyer's questions about whether the special counsel's office had tried to coach Gates on how to testify.

When the jury is dismissed to deliberate, they will decide whether it was Manafort, Gates or both.

Manafort's "amazing full floor loft in Soho" disappeared from Airbnb during a monthlong period when he closed a $3.4 million mortgage on the NY property, after telling a bank it was a second home used by his family. "I was probably wrong in that", said Ellis.

For most of the trial, Manafort's lawyers have ceded that numerous financial documents he submitted to the IRS, banks, and his accountants contained falsified information.

On Thursday morning, Mueller's team requested that Ellis issue a "curative instruction" to the jury, saying he has "mistakenly faulted" the prosecution.

On Wednesday, after eliciting an admission from Gates that his plea agreement could be thrown out if he lied, leading to further charges, Downing asked him if had told the Special Counsel "that you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?"

"The jury is very sensitive to what it perceives, correctly or not, to be the judge's view of the case", Gillers said. "I made a mistake".

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

Gates responded yes. "I made many mistakes over many years", he said.

Manafort's conviction would undermine efforts by Trump and some Republican lawmakers to paint Mueller's inquiry as a political witch hunt, while an acquittal would be a setback for Mueller. He also is accused of fraudulently obtaining millions more in bank loans, including while he was working on the Trump campaign.

Gates finished his testimony Wednesday after admitting that his secret life of cheating on his wife was more extensive than he had indicated earlier.

Laporta ... said she knew what she did was "not appropriate", adding that "you can't pick and choose what's a loan and what's income". "I am trying to change".

The prosecution has put forward almost 20 witnesses - including Manafort's longtime deputy Rick Gates - and a trove of documentary evidence as they've sought to prove Manafort defrauded banks and concealed millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts from the IRS.

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