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Paul Manafort's former right-hand man, Rick Gates, admitted under cross-examination he stole from Manafort to cover expenses related to a secret relationship.

Gate's testimony was part of the prosecution's effort to prove that Manafort was responsible for financial maneuverings that he and other witnesses have testified include filing false tax returns, defrauding banks in borrowing against real estate, and failing to report foreign bank accounts.

Prosecutors had intentionally left many of these pieces of evidence blank on an itemized list of documents they are presenting in court, signaling they could be the most sensational and attention-grabbing files in the evidence binder. He said there were 15 secret accounts.

Gates has told jurors he and Manafort spent years carrying out a vast tax-evasion and bank fraud conspiracy involving millions of dollars. Gates also provided the first witness testimony that overlaps with Trump's presidential campaign.

This story deletes a misquoted "not happy" from a Manafort email.

Four employees at Dr. K's firm established and named the entities - Leviathan Ltd. and Peranova Ltd. are two of the more high-profile examples - where Manafort and Gates held millions of dollars of payments to Manafort's Davis Manafort Partners (DMP) and DMP International from their overseas political clients. They have tried several times to impugn his credibility before the jury.

"No, they're not", Gates said. Gates pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February and agreed to cooperate with the government. But inside the courtroom, trial proceedings had plodded along almost Trump-free.

Both Manafort and Gates were indicted previous year on charges of bank and tax fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

Manafort's accountant was asked about a purported $10 million loan from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Gates testified that Manafort asked him to float Calk, who was on Trump's economic advisory council, for Secretary of the Army.

"Did you commit crimes with Mr Manafort?" prosecutor Greg Andres asked Gates.

Mr Andres asked Gates whether he understood that his lies and omissions were illegal.

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Gates conceded it was "in excess of 50 to 100 years", but said any eventual sentence - including avoiding jail by receiving probation - would be up to a judge.

Gates implicated himself in broad criminal conduct on the stand, an apparent strategic decision by prosecutors to take some of the steam out of defense questioning.

The face-off between longtime business associates and former senior members of the Trump campaign drew scores of people who waited in line for hours outside the courthouse and then jammed into both the courtroom and an overflow room that contained a video feed of the proceedings.

Gates admitted to stealing from Manafort, but he said he did not know how much money he took.

"WTF?" Manafort wrote in the email to Gates dated April 17, 2015.

For this Manafort was paid US$4million a year, in quarterly payments of US$1million, Gates recalled, though at some point the currency switched from U.S. dollars to Euros.

Prosecutors also say the men falsified documents to lie to banks in order to qualify Manafort for loans. "Mr. Manafort had the same path".

During his testimony Monday, Gates admitted he had embezzled money from Manafort by creating false expense reports on his own behalf. Instead, he glanced up at his former protege periodically but mostly studied documents displayed for the jury on a screen in front of him.

That testimony probably explains one of the minor mysteries of the first week of the Manafort trial.

A clothier said he sold Manafort more than $900,000 in suits, a bookkeeper says she helped disguise foreign income as a loan to reduce Manafort's tax burden and, on Wednesday, an Federal Bureau of Investigation forensic account said Manafort hid more than 30 offshore accounts in three types of currencies from the IRS.