Manafort's CPA Admits to Cooking the Books

Susan Walsh  AP

Heather Washkuhn, the bookkeeper who oversaw Manafort's business and personal holdings, testified as a witness for the prosecution that she thought she had complete knowledge of his financial affairs but that she was unaware of his holdings outside of the United States. Laporta, who testified under an immunity deal with the government, acknowledged that she agreed under pressure from Gates to alter a tax document for one of Manafort's businesses.

"Wrong", answered Laporta. "I could have refused to file. but that could expose the firm" to the risk of litigation.

Washkuhn's testimony also seemed to point toward Manafort's doctoring documents in an effort to inflate his income and to qualify for loans. But since they were longtime clients, she "didn't want to do that either", she said. Cotter also said he doesn't believe the defense has a high likelihood of success.

But since loans are not taxable, she said the change "resulted in a tax amount due that could be paid by Mr. Manafort".

Gates said he repeatedly lied to hide the bank accounts and, at Manafort's direction, he would classify money that came in as either a loan or income to reduce Manafort's tax burden. Lawyers are trying to show the jury how Manafort allegedly lied on official documents, hid overseas bank accounts and falsified tax forms. Asked by Asonye if she believed it was forgiven, she said: "Uh, no".

One member of the jury nodded in apparent agreement when US District Judge T.S. Ellis cut off the prosecution's questioning to ask her if she was afraid of being prosecuted herself.

Some legal analysts said Wednesday's tweet alone was not enough to bring an obstruction of justice charge, but it could be used to establish a pattern of conduct revealing Mr Trump's intentions.

Trump Jr.is being looked at for his role in putting together a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian attorney promising dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The final result of this alleged loan back-shifting was "an income tax bill that Manafort could pay", Laporta said.

According to Laporta, this was just as one of several instances where she accepted questionable financial statements on behalf of Manafort or Gates. But he also never told her that millions in foreign wire transfers were coming from companies prosecutors say he controlled.

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

If you happen to follow the president on Twitter, then you likely have noticed that the rhetoric and intensity of his attacks on the Special Counsel have picked up considerably over the last several days.

The government's star witness in the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort testified Monday that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the former Trump campaign chairman - and told jurors that he and Manafort committed crimes together.

"They must make headway in separating Gates and Manafort", Wu said. Asked why she sent the email if she knew the loan wasn't real, she said: "I was still feeling pretty disturbed about the tax return filed as it was".

Joyce Vance, a law professor at the University of Alabama, explained on MSNBC Friday that Manafort may yet prove himself to be a key figure in a potential case of collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to interfere in the election.

The retired accountant, Philip Ayliff, told jurors that Manafort had emailed him in January 2015 as he was seeking a mortgage on the unit from UBS.

In other words, Laporta said, Manafort's comments to the bank about how the property was being used were "inconsistent" with what was on his tax return.

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

That is because, given how much evidence is spelled out in black-and-white in a paper trail, it's very hard to find a strategy for defending against the charges. If it was his residence, he couldn't do that.

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