But 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.
He is the first subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation to stand trial. Gates testified that he'd followed Manafort's instructions as they set up Cypriot and other foreign bank accounts, moved money from Ukrainians into the United States, made sure Manafort's name was scrubbed from the accounts, then lied to the IRS and banks.
When Downing got up for another round of questions, he asked Gates about his description of the relationship as "a" mistake. By reporting it as a loan, Gates explained, he could defer the amount of taxes he owed. 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.
The names on those accounts belonged to the four individuals who created them.
Manafort and Gates were the first two people indicted in Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.
Under questioning, Gates said when Manafort did consulting work for Ukrainian politicians, he would send the money he made to accounts in Cyprus.
Gates said he did, but the defense lawyer wasn't satisfied.
"WTF", Manafort wrote to Gates in one email shown to the jury.
"Yes, this is approved", Manafort responded.
Sure, Gates called himself a liar and a cheat on Tuesday.
"The circles are now squared", Gates told Manafort in 2016.
"There are hundreds of these [emails]", Gates said.
On Tuesday, Gates did connect one part of the bank fraud charges against Manafort to his role in the Trump campaign. 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.
Prosecutors showed contracts laying out that Manafort would be paid $4 million a year in quarterly installments of $1 million, all channeled through Cyprus. Or, in Gates' own words, to make "unauthorized transfers".
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Manafort returned an edited version of the P&L to Gates later that day.
"After all the lies you told you expect this jury to believe you?"
Downing outlined how Gates gave false and misleading information to the special counsel after he had entered his plea agreement. Lawyers for Manafort are looking to undermine Gates' credibility and blame him for any crimes in the case, suggesting that he's told "so many lies" that he can't possibly remember them all. That could be limited by ground rules both sides agreed to before the trial, including that Manafort's team must not assert that the special counsel's office had a political motivation.
"I did it as a favor to Mr".
Gates' voice remained steady and calm throughout his roughy six hours of testimony Tuesday.
He has avoided the fierce stare of his former boss sitting arms folded in the defendant's chair, but his answers have been quick and stated clearly.
He criticized Manafort for choosing to go to trial instead of owning up to their alleged financial deceit.
Gates repeatedly challenged Downing's characterization of certain events with astonishingly self-incriminating frankness.
A former campaign aide to Donald Trump lived a "secret life" that included an extramarital affair in London, a court heard on Tuesday. These accounts, Gates added, predated his tenure at Manafort's DMP International.
Gates acknowledged during testimony on Monday to embezzling money from Manafort.
"Why won't you say it?"
"It was an embezzlement from Mr. Manafort", he said, with mock finality.
Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, said that in Downing's remaining hour of cross-examination on Wednesday, he needs to keep painting Gates as an unreliable person who can not be trusted. "I did, to one count, your honour", he said. I regret it clearly. "I regret it, clearly, and I'm taking responsibility for it", he said.