Manafort's right-hand man testifies against him

Rick Gates the star witness in the case against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort

Laporta also discussed problems that arose in February 2016 when Manafort needed cash and applied to Citizens Bank for a real-estate loan against property he owned in NY.

Ms Laporta detailed multiple examples in which Mr Manafort and Mr Gates sought to doctor financial records, first in order to lower Mr Manafort's taxable income and then later to inflate his income so he could get bank loans.

In early testimony Tuesday, Gates related his role in setting up offshore bank accounts for Manafort, a complex arrangement that was requested by wealthy and powerful Ukrainian businessmen who bankrolled Manafort's political consulting work in the country.

Gates spent much of his testimony Monday corroborating that version of events, but on Tuesday, Manafort's defense team will get a chance to paint a different picture.

But Laporta's testimony raised the stakes for Manafort, legal experts said.

Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports.

The power for the prosecution of having a formerly close associate flip on a defendant immediately became clear when prosecutor Greg Andres started asking him questions.

He said he committed the crimes "at Mr. Manafort's direction".

Notably, after urging prosecutors to speed things along as jurors heard from 14 witnesses last week, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said late on August 3 that Downing could begin his questioning of Laporta on Monday and wouldn't rush him. Gates pleaded guilty to financial fraud and to lying to investigators as he negotiated a plea agreement, something defense lawyers will no doubt seize on to try to undercut his credibility.

What's Gates telling the court?

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Since he was high-level Trump staffer who is now cooperating with Mueller, Gates' testimony was highly anticipated and seen as key evidence in the case against Manafort.

That second part is true - kind of. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

In court on Monday, Gates testified that he did steal from Manafort.

He added he didn't receive any personal benefit for falsifying Manafort's loan applications.

Laporta thought that was odd, so she asked Gates for information about the $2.4 million Manafort was supposedly owed.

Gates didn't respond to any of her emails asking for documents, contracts, and other communications about the alleged forthcoming payment. Manafort, 69, meanwhile, is facing 18 felony charges that could carry a maximum of 30 years in prison. Ellis overruled the objection.

Asked whether the money in the accounts was Manafort's income, Gates said, "it was". But she noted that she couldn't imagine a scenario where she would have learned Gates was doing that.

Laporta also said Manafort was copied on several emails she sent to Gates regarding her concerns - but she did not consider calling Manafort directly because it appeared he was largely aware of what was happening.

Mueller's team asked Liss past year to search for any reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, or FBARs, from Manafort or his wife Kathleen.

Mr. Manafort provided the connections and signed off on all the big decisions, but it was Mr. Gates who devised much of the strategy and administered the business, according to people who worked with the pair there.

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