The Internet Can't Stop Plucking at Paul Manafort's $15,000 Ostrich Jacket

06 August, 2018, 03:31 | Author: Carlos George
  • Paul Manafort arrives at U.S. District Court on June 15 in Washington D.C

Jonah Green has more.

With a mound of evidence showing bank fraud and tax evasion, Manafort's defense attorneys have decided not to fight the evidence and instead pin the crimes on former Manafort associate Rick Gates.

He said that if convicted on all counts, Manafort - who is 69 - will likely die in prison: "The left thinks that's just fine - Manafort ran Donald Trump's presidential campaign [and] they believe he deserves to die for that".

Her testimony came on the trial's fourth day as prosecutors sought to drive home their case that Manafort tried to hide millions of dollars he earned working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

She did so, she said, after Rick Gates, Manafort's longtime aide and Trump's former deputy campaign chairman, told her that Manafort was unable to pay what he owed.

"I prepared the tax returns and communicated with banks based on information that Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort provided to me that I didn't believe", Ms. Laporta testified.

The accountant, who testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution, conceded that she knew the action to be "wrong" but feared labeling longtime clients as "liars" while exposing her accounting firm to possible litigation.

Gates has pled guilty to several charges that Mueller brought against him, and he's cooperating with the Mueller probe. The emails will provide the jurors a glimpse into the private conversations between Manafort and Gates, the man to whom he entrusted his personal and business finances.

As with earlier witnesses, the subject of Manafort's spending irritated the judge, who told prosecutors: "You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he signed tax documents to show he knowingly didn't represent his true income".

Mueller has pursued a 14-month investigation of Russia's role in the election and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow, though the charges against Manafort pre-date his joining Trump. Gates is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution.

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During this conference call, the idea was apparently established to increase a loan amount - and shift income into a loan - in order to reduce Mr. Manafort's income and thus reduce his income taxes.

Ayliff and another bookkeeper who worked with Manafort, Heather Washkuhn, were the only two witnesses to testify Thursday afternoon.

The first week of Paul Manafort's trial for bank and tax fraud charges is complete.

In the first four whirlwind days of the Manafort trial, unfolding in a cellphone-free federal court here a half hour south of the White House, Robert Mueller's special counsel team has laid out a compelling case that Manafort is a tax cheat.

As he has every day since the trial began, Manafort sat quietly throughout the proceedings, dressed in a suit and tie, flanked by his defense lawyers.

While the question of collusion remains unanswered, Manafort's financial fraud trial has exposed the lucrative and secretive world of foreign lobbying that made Manafort rich. She noted that Paul Manafort never once mentioned - in speech or in writing - any of his foreign accounts or foreign entities.

Prosecutors say Manafort used those companies to stash millions of dollars from his Ukrainian consulting work, proceeds he omitted year-after-year from his income tax returns. Ayliff used those forms to prepare Manafort's tax returns. But he says Manafort authorized those discussions, and the two never contradicted each other. Classifying the property as a personal residence would have made it easier to obtain the mortgage at a low rate.

Ayliff said he once asked Manafort if he owned a foreign bank account, and Manafort said no.

So Laporta said she agreed to record a $1.5 million loan to Manafort's company as forgiven.

An FBI agent on Wednesday described the July 2017 raid on Manafort's Virginia condominium, saying he knocked multiple times before entering with a key and finding Manafort inside.



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