FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2018, file photo, Rick Gates leaves federal court in Washington. Paul Manafort’s trial opened this week with a display of his opulent lifestyle and testimony about what prosecutors say were years of financial deception. But the most critical moment in the former Trump campaign chairman’s financial fraud trial will arrive next week with the testimony of his longtime associate Gates.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The Latest: Awaiting Gates testimony at Manafort trial

August 06, 2018 - 4:09 pm

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (all times local):

4 p.m.

Prosecutors have called a witness other than Rick Gates in the financial fraud trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

A lawyer for Manafort had said in court Monday afternoon that Gates, who is Manafort's longtime deputy and is regarded as the government's star witness, would be the next witness up.

Instead, prosecutors called a different witness named Paula Liss. Lawyers then met privately with the judge for a bench conference.

Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars.

Prosecutors said last week that they intended to call him to the stand before resting their case this week.

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3 p.m.

Paul Manafort's attorney says the former Trump campaign chairman's longtime deputy will be testifying next in Manafort's fraud trial.

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing says that Rick Gates will testify at the conclusion of the testimony of Manafort's tax preparer. Downing made the comment in court.

The prosecution didn't confirm that Gates, a prosecution witness, would be next.

Manafort's defense has sought to blame Gates for any illegal conduct and accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from Manafort. Gates will follow the testimony of tax preparer Cindy Laporta, who says she came to suspect Gates was misleading her about Manafort's finances.

Under cross examination, she said at the time she believed Manafort was directing Gates' actions and "knew what was going on."

Gates has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe after he cut a plea deal earlier this year. During that process, Gates admitted to two felony charges, but his testimony would be the first time he details those crimes face-to-face with Manafort, his former boss and mentor.

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1:04 p.m.

The most critical moment in the financial fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will likely arrive this week with the testimony of his "right-hand man" — the person defense attorneys blame for any crimes.

Rick Gates has been a key cooperator for special counsel Robert Mueller's team after he cut a plea deal earlier this year. During that process, Gates admitted to two felony charges, but when he testifies it will be the first time he'll detail those crimes face-to-face with his former boss and mentor.

The trial is set to resume Monday afternoon in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. It's the first of Mueller's prosecutions to reach a jury, but lawyers have made no mention of President Donald Trump or possible campaign coordination with the Kremlin.

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