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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.

As well as being a senior aide on Trump's election campaign, Gates served as the deputy chairman of the United States president's inaugural committee.

Gates appeared shaky at times in answering questions, contrasting sharply with his firm and clear answers to questions by prosecutors.

Downing seized on those admissions to try and cast doubt on whether the jury can trust Gates' claims that he only carried out the fraud alleged by prosecutors at Manafort's behest.

The judge then brought the trial to a standstill late Tuesday afternoon, calling a brief recess.

More broadly, this trial is a direct result of the special counsel's investigation into the Trump's campaign contacts with Russian Federation.

The judge asked the lawyers to come to the bench to discuss the matter. And Manafort made millions of dollars working as a political consultant for a pro-Russia party in Ukraine before he worked for the Trump campaign, which could raise questions about Trump's friendly rhetoric towards the country.

For the previous two days in court, Gates has testified that he and Manafort committed bank and tax fraud together. Mr Downing asked Gates.

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After Gates struggled to recall precisely what he had told Mueller's team, Downing asked if he had been confronted with "so many lies" that he can't keep his story straight. They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury.

If convicted on all counts, Manafort could face eight to 10 years in prison based on federal sentencing guidelines, according to sentencing expert Justin Paperny.

Gates laying out a roadmap on how he and Manafort allegedly dodged US taxes. after admitting Monday they committed numerous crimes as business partners.

"In Cyprus, they were documented as loans".

The email exchange about Calk occurred after Manafort left the Trump campaign but while Gates was active on the Trump inauguration committee.

Gates said that he helped fabricate documents to convert some income to a loan to lower Manafort's tax bill.

"I think Gates was a very poor witness".

Gates was indicted alongside Manafort in October, but he later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of conspiracy against the US and lying to the FBI as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. But Trump has shown interest in the proceedings, tweeting support for Manafort and suggesting he has been treated worse than gangster Al Capone.

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The charges largely predate the five months Manafort spent on Trump's campaign.

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 U.S., made sure Manafort's name was scrubbed from the accounts, then lied to the IRS and banks. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

Andres followed up: "Did Mr Manafort know?" The charges are not related to Manafort's work with the Trump campaign.

Ex-Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort's defense seeks to discredit the Mueller team's star witness during cross-examination; Peter Doocy reports on the bombshell day in court.

Gates, 46, is expected to be cross-examined for about another hour by Manafort's attorney Kevin Downing before prosecutors get a second chance to try and undo some of the possibly damaging testimony he gave during their redirect.

Gates said it was a "very common method" for Dr. K and that, once the money was moved into the accounts, Manafort decided what to do with it.

In other testimony, Gates recounted how he converted a PDF of a profit-and-loss statement to a Microsoft Word document so he could doctor it to inflate the business' income.

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