ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The defense in the trial of Paul Manafort went on the attack Tuesday against the government's star witness, Rick Gates. Manafort is charged with fraud and tax evasion that started before he and Gates, Manafort's former business deputy, had key roles on the Trump campaign.
After hours of cross-examination of the prosecution's star witness, Manafort's lawyer offered this assessment: "Mr. Manafort had a great day."
Attorney Kevin Downing attacked Gates' credibility, one day after he testified that his former boss knowingly committed crimes.
"You knowingly and intentionally lied?" Downing asked.
"Uh, yes," Gates answered. "I provided false information to the special counsel's office prior to my plea agreement."
Downing peppered gates with questions about what the defense dubbed "the secret life of Rick Gates."
Gates admitted to having an apartment in London to facilitate an extramarital affair, but denied that he used funds embezzled from Manafort for the tryst. He also acknowledged he may have submitted personal expenses to President Trump's inaugural committee for reimbursement. "It's possible," Gates conceded.
As Gates struggled to answer questions about wire transfers he authorized, Downing pointed out Gates' memory was much clearer when a prosecutor was the one doing the questioning. "Have they confronted you with so many lies you can't remember any of it?" Downing asked.
Earlier in the day, the Trump campaign was discussed at length for the first time. After Manafort resigned as the campaign's chairman in August 2016, Gates stayed on and eventually worked on Mr. Trump's inauguration.
Prosecutors showed emails from Manafort urging Gates to find a position in the new Trump administration for Stephen Chalk, a banker who prosecutors say gave Manafort a loan based on fraudulent information.
Gates was visibly nervous during Downing's relentless questioning. He will be back on the stand Wednesday, and defense attorneys say they have at least another hour of questions