Rick Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents. They also need to prove he did so with intent and not by mistake.
James testified about uncovering Manafort's alleged lies by perusing insurance documentation for the Brooklyn property and making a quick call to Street Easy, which confirmed the Howard St. address "was listed for rent".
Defence lawyers saw an opening to undermine his testimony by painting him as liar and a philanderer, getting him to admit to an extramarital affair and reminding jurors how he had lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team while working out a plea deal for himself.
Prosecutors have pointed out that Manafort listed the Manhattan loft as a rental on his tax returns in previous years.
Paul Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing on Wednesday asked whether longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates had four extramarital affairs - and not just one overseas 10 years ago - implying that Gates might have lied to special counsel Robert Mueller's team and could put his plea deal in jeopardy.
"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this".
Earlier on Tuesday, the prosecution had continued to question Gates, who described how millions of dollars were allegedly funnelled from entities controlled by Ukrainian businessmen into Manafort's shell companies in Cyprus.
The eye-popping figures summed up a key portion of the prosecution's case following the conclusion of Manafort deputy Rick Gates' dramatic three-day testimony, during which he detailed how he and Manafort had 15 undisclosed foreign bank accounts and had falsified financial documents.
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.More news: US employers add 157000 jobs, jobless rate hits 3.9 pct
Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said. "It has nothing to do with your consideration in this case", he said, adding: "This robe doesn't make me anything other than human".
He also said Manafort should have reported multiple foreign bank accounts to the IRS in those years.
The Reagan appointee has grumbled incessantly about prosecutors' pace in presenting evidence and questioning its witnesses - even though Mueller's team expects to rest its case roughly a week and a half ahead of schedule. Downing asked Gates whether he had told prosecutors that he had four extramarital affairs.
Lisa Kern Griffin, who teaches law at Duke University, said many judges are harsher on the government, fearing that being seen favoring a prosecution could be the basis for a defendant's appeal.
Both Manafort and Gates were indicted past year on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe. "I made a mistake".
Gates said he falsely labeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in income as loans to reduce Manafort's tax liability.
Although the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation are not at issue in this trial, any significant blows to the government's case are likely be seized on by the president's defenders, including conservative media, to support his contention that Mueller's investigation is a "rigged witch-hunt".
"Put aside any criticism".
Manafort's defense team's primary strategy has been to pin much of the blame for financial crimes on Gates, and some observers felt Downing made some headway toward that goal on Tuesday. Magionos testified that she reviewed bank records obtained through a treaty request and by issuing subpoenas to Manafort's company and HSBC. He finished his testimony Wednesday, Day 7 of the trial. "I thought he was needlessly evasive and argumentative", said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney in MI who has been watching the trial and said she observed jurors reacting with negative body language as he testified.