Testimony by ‘right-hand man’ critical in Manafort trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — 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.