Real estate takes center stage in Manafort trial

  • Real estate takes center stage in Manafort trial

Real estate takes center stage in Manafort trial

Laporta was the first witness to testify under immunity from the prosecution, an indication she would otherwise have been opening herself up to legal trouble.

Prosecutors are looking to present Gates as Manafort's accomplice in a scheme to evade the IRS and defraud banks. Banks were reluctant to lend Manafort money because his business showed no income, she and others testified. Washkuhn said Gates was only involved in Manafort's business dealings, not his personal expenses.

"I know I had asked multiple times for bills to be paid", she said.

Laporta, however, is perhaps the most significant witness for the prosecution up to this point.

But, she said, "Mr. Manafort was a longtime client of the firm and I didn't want to do that". They were booked to the same Cyprus entity, bringing the total to $1.9 million.

Trump also repeated his assertion that Manafort "worked for me for a very short time" and questioned why federal investigators didn't "tell me that he was under investigation". "You can't pick and chose what's a loan and what's income". She believed that Gates was trying to reduce the amount of taxes Manafort had to pay. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye asked Laporta on Friday afternoon.

T.S. Ellis, a 78-year-old Reagan-appointed judge in the case known for colorful comments, said this week that the prosecution can not prove a key part of their case unless prosecutors call Gates to the stand. "The government is not going to prosecute people for wearing nice clothes", Ellis said.

The judge said: "But you still went ahead and used it?"

"Nobody intending to violate the law would leave the evidence around for his accountant to find it", Manfort's lead attorney Kevin Downing said in the courtroom Friday. "It's evidence of his income".

Emails submitted by the prosecution showed that Gates told LaPorta he would provide a letter on the loan forgiveness and then "chase down signatures".

The president has recently tweeted about Manafort, asking if mob boss Al Capone or Manafort "was treated worse".

Laporta said Manafort provided no documentation to back up the claim.

Laporta said she felt regret as soon as the return was filed.

Manafort is on trial for alleged bank fraud and tax evasion, charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

As the trial continues next week, Manafort's team is expected to attempt to pin this all on Rick Gates, the lobbyist's longtime deputy and colleague on the Trump campaign.

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.

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.

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

Ayliff's testimony is key to the government's contention that Manafort also falsified his tax returns during the five-year period between 2010 and 2014. 'It's a lot, and Paul Manafort trusted that Rick Gates was keeping track of it'.

He did, however, recall that Manafort once instructed him to provide inaccurate information to UBS Bank related to a 2015 loan involving the Manaforts' Trump Tower apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

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

The letter was back-dated almost eight months earlier and included no signatures. That's how people learned he once spent more than $400,000 in a single year on his own personal wardrobe, paying handsomely for it with it through global wire transfers from foreign bank accounts, according to witnesses and prosecutors. Classifying the property as a personal residence would have made it easier to obtain the mortgage at a low rate.

What we don't know: What is Manafort's end game?

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. Such accounts must be reported to tax authorities if they contain $10,000 or more. Ayliff testified that his firm relied on the representations of Gates and Manafort, and that the men never told him of the foreign accounts.

"Only a fool would give that information to his accountant if he was trying to hide it" from the Internal Revenue Service, Downing said, referring to whether the accountant had names of the Cyprus-based entities in his files and had retained them for his records.