When Rick Gates finally flipped on his former boss, Paul Manafort, it seemed like a coup for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. But in its final argument before the jury on Wednesday, prosecutors did everything they could to minimize Gates’s importance to the case.
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When you wish upon a star: The government’s star witness is not their star witness, at least according to prosecutor Greg Andres. He used his closing argument to repeatedly deemphasize Gates’s importance to the case and rebut the claim that Manafort’s long-time junior partner was the prosecution’s secret weapon. “The star witness in this case is the documents,” Andrew said, arguing that the other exhibits and witness testimony were a “more than sufficient” basis to convict. For those who still had doubts, he invited the jury to corroborate Gates’s statement with testimony from other witnesses.