Manafort trial day 4: Accountant concedes possible wrongdoing, Manafort's double life

Paul Manafort arrives at U.S. District Court on June 15 in Washington D.C

Paul Manafort arrives at U.S. District Court on June 15 in Washington D.C

Accountant Cindy LaPorta said she had a sense that what Manafort and aide Rick Gates told her about funds being transferred into their global political consulting business wasn't accurate.

Defense attorneys have sought to cast Manafort as a dupe of his business partner, Gates, who was accused in the same indictment as Manafort and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Another one of Manafort's accountants testified Thursday that Gates instructed her to change the amount of a loan on a tax return to lower Manafort's taxes, telling the court "I very much regret it". Washkuhn said Gates was only involved in Manafort's business dealings, not his personal expenses.

Either way, in 2016 when Mr. Manafort sought a home loan from Citizens Bank, the bank anxious that his company, DMP International, could not afford to repay Paranova. In one email, shortly before Manafort left the campaign, Manafort emailed LaPorta about a document he was submitting for a loan application that prosecutors say falsely inflated his income.

She says she would have documented them for tax purposes if he had.

When prosecutors asked if information of potential foreign accounts would be important to know, Laporta said that it would. She said that either Manafort or Gates told her to relay that to the bank and that she relied on "their word". He said Manafort was the only business client of his who paid via worldwide wire transfer.

Laporta was granted immunity to testify. They were booked to the same Cyprus entity, bringing the total to $1.9 million.

They showed jurors an email from Washkuhn to the bank showing that, through November 20, 2016, his business had a net loss of $1,116,497.

"You are not limited in your cross examination of her", Judge Ellis said.

The accounting of suit costs aggravated U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, who has admonished prosecutors not to belabor the details of Manafort's lavish lifestyle but to stick strictly instead to the evidence that supports the charges.

"You believed it was false?" "The government is not going to prosecute people for wearing nice clothes", Ellis said.

Manafort's attorneys do not seem to have scored a lot of points on cross-examination, Futterman said, but added that the witnesses who have testified so far are not "the main targets". "It's evidence of his income". And if Manafort was actively trying to circumvent lending laws, he wouldn't send emails to his accountant and bookkeeper about it.

Laporta also described an effort by Manafort and Gates to falsify financial records that would allow Manafort to obtain mortgage loans.

Prosecutors are giving more insight into how they built their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Mr Gates pleaded guilty in February and is expected to testify against Mr Manafort, possibly next week.

Someone who didn't testify this week: Rick Gates, Manafort's former business partner. Manafort's trial is the first to stem from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to Trump associates.

Prosecutors are heading toward the heart of their financial fraud case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The trial is expected to resume Monday afternoon.

Washkuhn also detailed how after Manafort's political consulting money from Ukraine stopped coming in, around 2015, he and his company began piling up debt and financial woes. All of those vendors testified that Manafort often paid with wire transfers from offshore bank accounts, which they told jurors was an "unusual method" of payment, CNN reported. He said he would talk to Gates about Manafort's tax returns because Manafort had authorized it.

"It's kind of leading up to Gates" testimony that, "Yep, this is what he was telling me to do, '" the former USA prosecutor said.

"None", Ayliff said, as the exercise was repeated five times. Maxwell testified that some of the Manafort invoices shown to him from prosecutors appeared to be have been forged.

Ayliff responded, stating that the apartment had always been regarded as a rental property. "Not sure where that leaves us".

Last month, Mr Manafort, who ran the Trump campaign for three months, was accused by prosecutors of using numerous accounts in order to evade tax.

Gates will likely be asked about whether he helped his boss move money overseas and hide those accounts. Uzo Asonye, one of the prosecutors, told jurors that Yanukovych was Manafort's "golden goose" - and according to Asonye, Ukrainian oligarchs who ran entire industries in that country paid Manafort over $60 million over the course of a decade to promote Yanukovych's interests.

To that end, the government plowed through eight witnesses on Wednesday, including a political consultant, representatives of two luxury menswear boutiques, home contractors, a real estate agent and a comptroller of a local Mercedes-Benz dealership. A second trial is scheduled for September in the District of Columbia. It would address allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the US government.

Information for this article was contributed by Matthew Barakat, Stephen Braun, Chad Day and Eric Tucker of The Associated Press; and by David Voreacos, Andrew Harris and Daniel Flatley of Bloomberg News.

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