The testimony of Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's longtime deputy and the star witness in the government's bank-fraud and tax-evasion case against the former Trump campaign manager, came to a dramatic end Wednesday with defense attorneys accusing him of lying about the number of extramarital affairs he's had.
Mr Gates recounted how he and Mr Manafort used more than a dozen offshore shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus to funnel the money, all while concealing the accounts and the income from the IRS.
Manafort, 69, a veteran Republican political operative, was Trump's campaign chairman from May to August 2016, when he was forced to step down amid questions about his work for Ukraine's former pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.
The prosecution's case against Manafort doesn't rest exclusively on Gates. Downing asked Gates Tuesday, a rhetorical question everyone present at the trial with any courtroom experience saw coming a mile away.
But at another point Wednesday, Gates attempted to express remorse from the stand, saying "I've made many mistakes over many years". In reality, it was basically money moving between accounts, " Gates said during his second day of testimony in the financial fraud trial of his former boss.
Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of Gates on Tuesday, accusing Gates of being immersed in "so many lies" he can't remember them all and demanded to know how a jury could possibly trust him.
During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday. On Tuesday, Downing straight out asked Gates: "After all the lies you've told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?"
The aggressive questioning was aimed at shifting blame from Manafort onto Gates, who pleaded guilty in Mueller's investigation and agreed to cooperate with investigators by testifying in the financial fraud trial.
Gates had testified about one five-month affair with a paramour in London almost a decade ago, but had never been directly questioned on the stand about whether he'd had any other sexual relationships.
During cross examination, Manafort's attorneys pointed out Gates' extramarital affairs, including a woman in London who may have had a hand in the financial crimes Gates to which admitted, Politico reported.
Part of that record were several emails Manafort sent Gates.
Gates, Manafort's longtime right-hand man, pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss.
Downing implied that Gates had lied on the stand, leading senior U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, the 78-year-old Ronald Reagan nominee overseeing the trial, to confer with both sides at the bench.
In detailed testimony, Gates walked prosecutors through the step-by-step process on how he and Manafort doctored and backdated documents. He initially tried to avoid admitting he purposefully lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a 2013 meeting Manafort attended with a US congressman and tried to avoid using the term "embezzled" in relation to the inflated expense reports he submitted for reimbursement during his employment with Manafort.
"He always had control over the accounts", Gates said of Manafort, and the income was not reported to his bookkeepers, his accountants or the USA tax authorities. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat.
Gates was hired by Manafort to serve as deputy campaign chairman and later had a role on Mr Trump's inaugural committee.
Gates, who is awaiting sentencing, told jurors that he siphoned off money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports.
Gates said he and Manafort turned to a Cypriot lawyer, whom he referred to in court as "Dr K", who set up bank accounts and shell companies on Manafort's behalf and "handled everything".