Manafort's 'right-hand man' to testify in fraud trial

That income posed a problem for Manafort when it came time to prepare his business tax returns in September 2015, Laporta testified. Another series of emails warned him of an upcoming deadline to pay property taxes on one of his homes in NY before penalties kicked in.

"There normally wasn't a response, they just said it was a loan", Mr. Ayliff testified of the response he got from Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates.

Laporta, who was granted immunity, testified that she changed the loan amount but "very much" regretted her actions.

Late on Thursday, Manafort filed an objection to the government's bid to block his legal team from raising the fact that he and his companies were never audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

"They must make headway in separating Gates and Manafort", Wu said. Ayliff said that such declarations are the client's responsibility and that the firm isn't responsible to check the accuracy of information provided by a client.

She said Mr Gates told her in a conference call the income level "was too high" and proposed reclassifying a portion of it as a loan.

Prosecutors have said they intend to complete their arguments as early as next week. Last week she said that Manafort asked her to falsify numbers related to his company's profits.

In another instance, Laporta testified that Manafort attempted to have her add an additional $2.4 million in income to his financial statement in 2016 to secure another bank loan. Then she sent it to Citizens Bank as evidence the loan ad been forgiven. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye asked Laporta on Friday afternoon.

Laporta was the 14th witness called by prosecutors before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis.

"You believed it was false?" "You're entitled to go into that in any detail you want to", he said. Though this case is not about Russian Federation or possible election conspiracy, it has captured Trump's attention.

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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.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the special counsel, is expected to be the star prosecution witness. But Manafort was copied in on several emails discussing the matter.

In another email, this one from Manafort to Laporta, the defendant allegedly wrote, "see below for my answer" and "see answers below".

When asked if she believed the loan had been forgiven, Ms. Laporta hesitated before saying, "no". He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and his trial is the first arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 US election.

Mueller's team has made Manafort's expensive tastes - from a $15,000 ostrich jacket to a $10,000 karaoke machine and a flower bed in the shape of an "M" - a key part of their case against the former Trump campaign chairman, arguing that his expensive habits illustrate why they say Manafort broke tax and banking laws.

Federal Savings Bank ultimately loaned to DMP when its executive Stephen Calk sought a Trump campaign position.

Washkuhn never recorded the existence of any foreign bank accounts for Manafort while she kept his books, she said.

Defense lawyers are trying to convince the jury that Manafort was consumed by his consulting business and left the particulars of his finances to professionals and, in particular, to Gates. Manafort claims that Gates embezzled millions of dollars from his political consulting business. When Laporta and a colleague provided an assessment of Manafort's tax liability, Gates responded that Manafort couldn't afford to pay it. Such accounts must be reported to tax authorities if they contain $10,000 or more.

"Rick Gates is a double-edged sword", said Mintz.

Washkuhn testified on Thursday that she had no idea any of those entities were owned or controlled by Manafort.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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