Rick Gates, the ex-business partner of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, provided the most explosive testimony yet in the federal government's tax evasion, bank fraud and conspiracy case against Manafort. Gates recounted how he and 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. Prosecutors allege that he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.
Manafort's political work included advising Viktor Yanukovich on policy after he won the Ukrainian presidency, Gates said.
But the defense team has taken on the the daunting task of convincing jurors that Gates, who was in constant communication with Manafort and carrying out his wishes, is an unreliable witness who had simply gone rogue and independently chose to boost his boss' personal income over a period of several years.
"Yes, I made a decision", Gates said.
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.
During the testimony, Manafort did not stare Gates down as he did Monday.
"I'm here to tell the truth and take responsibility for my actions", Gates said in response to a question from Downing about his trustworthiness.
On re-direct from the prosecution, Magionos agreed that two of Manafort's signatures on the same foreign bank document appeared different - implying that he didn't always sign his name the same way.
Gates, under questioning by prosecutor Greg Andres, admitted that he padded his expense accounts with phony charges without Manafort's knowledge, siphoning "several hundred thousand" dollars from the secret accounts.
Defense lawyers wrapped up their questioning of Gates Wednesday following a bruising cross-examination that focused on Gates's own crimes, an extramarital affair and a guilty plea with special counsel Robert Mueller's office that may spare him severe punishment.
Before the final bang - or was it a whimper? - prosecutors had their own opportunity Wednesday morning to revisit with Gates exactly what he had done by way of financial crimes, and the steep, lifelong outcome of prison time he could face if he told the jury inaccuracies about Manafort.
Gates, who worked as Manafort's right-hand man for a decade, served as deputy chairman of the Trump campaign.
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.
After Downing asked Gates Wednesday whether he had multiple affairs, Judge T.S. Ellis had a private conversation, out of earshot of the jury.
Manafort's accountant was asked about a purported $10 million loan from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
But that changed Tuesday during a full day of testimony by Rick Gates, the prosecution's star witness and another former member of the campaign. He was so desperate, prosecutors say, that he allegedly falsified loan application documents to keep himself afloat. Referring to Manafort's pretrial confinement, Trump asked whether Manafort was being treated worse than Al Capone.
Mr Gates testified he and Mr Manafort knew they were committing crimes for years, saying they had stashed money in foreign bank accounts and falsified bank loan documents.
Another email from February 2016 had Manafort conversing with Gates about a loan forgiveness letter that both Gates and an accountant have testified was fraudulent. The email exchange occurred after Manafort left the Trump campaign but while Gates was active on the Trump inauguration committee.
"It's possible", Gates, who was a Trump campaign aide, replied.