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Prosecutors detail how they built Manafort case

06 August 2018

After the bank expressed reservations about the size of Manafort's debt, Gates sent her documentation showing the $1.5 million loan had been forgiven.

Ms. Laporta is the first witness to testify under a grant of immunity in Mr. Manafort's trial on charges of tax and bank fraud.

Manafort's trial, being held in US federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first arising out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the interactions between Trump associates and Russian officials.

Manafort's defense is looking to blame Gates for any crimes. Jurors are expected to hear testimony Friday that Manafort never told his tax accountants about offshore bank accounts containing millions of dollars. Gates was Manafort's business associate.

Ms. Laporta's testimony was especially helpful to prosecutors because she was able to crystallize financial transactions that were otherwise befuddling, even to courtroom spectators steeped in the case.

"It was not appropriate", Ms. Laporta said.

Ayliff testified that KWC did not know Manafort controlled Peranova, and that if the transfer was a payment related to his consulting work in Ukraine it would have been treated as income - not as a loan - on his tax returns. "I very much regret it".

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But Ms. Laporta's actions weren't just limited to filing possible false tax returns.

Laporta detailed multiple examples in which Manafort and Gates sought to doctor financial records, first in order to lower Manafort's taxable income and then later to inflate his income so that he could get bank loans. But Manafort was copied in on several emails discussing the matter.

Speaking on CNN on Thursday, Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider also noted that the timing of Manafort's cash flow problem is significant because, in her words, "That was around the time he offered to work for the Trump campaign for free".

Manafort emailed Laporta in December 2015 telling her he was applying for a mortgage from Citizen Bank for a property located on Howard Street in Manhattan.

It is clear to me he is very anxious about it and he wants to prevent it any way he can.

"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", LaPorta said. (To be clear, I think this was probably clear all along to more knowledgable trial watchers.) But it wasn't until I say this note from TPM Reader JW that I really grasped the high risk nature of Manafort's defense strategy ... Such accounts must be reported to tax authorities if they contain $US10,000 or more. Washkuhn said her bookkeeping system wouldn't let her do that.

That testimony is important to special counsel Robert Mueller's team as it looks to rebut defense arguments that Manafort can't be responsible for financial fraud because he left the details of his spending to others.

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In any case, Mr Sessions recused himself from the investigation in March past year and does not have the power to stop it.

The proceedings ended before Manafort attorney Kevin Downing could cross-examine her.

The government is expected to finish questioning him on Friday, before calling its next witness in the trial, which began on Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

A source close to Manafort's team told Fox News the defense has not yet decided whether to have Manafort testify during the trial.

"We asked the question and the response was no", Ayliff said. But attempts to verify the loan's terms were futile.

Prosecutors said Manafort evaded taxes through this scheme.

Prosecutors allege he used the money he made overseas to fund his expensive tastes, including nearly $1 million on suits and $15,000 on an ostrich leather jacket. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye told jurors in his opening statement that the case boils down to "one simple issue: Paul Manafort lied".

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He said Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort took steps to hide Mr. Manafort's alleged control of the entity.

Prosecutors detail how they built Manafort case