Accountant of ex-Trump aide Manafort testifies she helped falsify documents

  • Accountant of ex-Trump aide Manafort testifies she helped falsify documents

Accountant of ex-Trump aide Manafort testifies she helped falsify documents

Prosecutors say that Manafort, a political consultant who made more than $60 million working in Ukraine over that period, failed to report much of that income. Defense lawyers have painted Gates as an untrustworthy business partner who embezzled funds from Manafort's consulting firm. Laporta said that Gates sent her a backdated document purporting to memorialize the loan and that Manafort saved $400,000 to $500,000 in taxes.

"Correct", answered Laporta, explaining that she went along with accounting manoeuvres suggested by Manafort and his longtime business associate Rick Gates because she did not want to create problems for her firm or lose a top client.

Laporta confirmed she was testifying under immunity because of the fear that she could be prosecuted for her actions.

The accountant's testimony comes a day after Manafort's longtime bookkeeper said that she also had no knowledge of Manafort's foreign interests or the dozens of wire transfers he approved from those accounts to pay for homes, cars and custom clothes.

Katzman described Manafort, who paid the firm almost $1 million over a five-year period for suits and other items, as a Top 5 client.

Manafort is accused of hiding more than $30 million in income in secret offshore bank accounts to avoid paying US taxes.

A conviction would give momentum to Mr Mueller's probe, in which 32 people and three companies have been indicted or pleaded guilty. Indeed, in Foer's telling, Gates was almost a son to Manafort - hardly the portrait of a schemer, sabotaging his boss from the shadows. And if Manafort was actively trying to circumvent lending laws, he wouldn't send emails to his accountant and bookkeeper about it.

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.

They have "every intention" of calling him as a witness, prosecutor Greg Andres said Thursday. "You can't pick and chose what's a loan and what's income".

To wit, Laporta testified that KWC didn't often receive requested documents from Manafort or Rick Gates.

LaPorta's testimony may have proved to be the most damaging so far to Manafort who faces 18 criminal counts of tax evasion and bank fraud. It's the first courtroom test of the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with looking into Russia's efforts to interfere with the US election and whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Moscow to sway voters.

In court on Tuesday and Wednesday, he sternly told the lawyers and the jury multiple times that Manafort is not on trial for living large.

While the question of collusion remains unanswered, Manafort's financial fraud trial has exposed the secretive world of foreign lobbying that made him 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.

Other witnesses testifying this week said Manafort paid them millions from the offshore accounts tied to foreign shell companies for landscaping, expensive clothing and even a Karaoke machine.

Virginia accountant James Ayliff, who for years supervised the preparation of Manafort's business and personal tax returns, told the jury his client repeatedly denied any worldwide financial interests. Ayliff used those forms to prepare Manafort's tax returns. But he said Manafort authorized those discussions, and Gates and Manafort never contradicted each other. But while Ayliff testified he was aware that Manafort had sought loans against his various properties, the accountant said he was never provided the underlying documents supporting those loan applications.

She said Manafort was copied on an email to the bank that included the fake letter.

"A tart remark or two might be what is needed to keep a lengthy trial on track", the court said in one case.