ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Paul Manafort’s longtime deputy has been called to the witness stand to testify against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Rick Gates has been regarded as a crucial government witness ever since he pleaded guilty last year and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Prosecutors will turn to Gates for first-hand support of their accusations that Manafort concealed millions of dollars in foreign income and later lied when he applied for bank loans.

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

Gates and Manafort worked closely together for years. They were the first two people indicted by Mueller’s grand jury.

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