Real estate takes center stage in Manafort trial

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Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller, is expected to testify as the prosecution's star witness.

Prosecutors are looking to present Gates as Manafort's accomplice in a scheme to evade the IRS and defraud banks.

Showing Manafort paid with offshore bank accounts is part of the prosecution's attempt to show the jury that Manafort hid money overseas on which he failed to pay taxes.

Laporta testified that they all ultimately made a decision to decrease the loan amount by $900,000 on Manafort's 2014 tax returns before submitting his 2015 one so that Manafort could afford to pay his bills.

"You make her say "I lied" as many times as you can", Axelrod said.

In their opening statements, Manafort's defense attorneys argued Manafort was simply too busy to deal with his finances and entrusted Gates with that task.

"Manafort could be far more central to collusion between the campaign and Russian Federation than the bank fraud and tax fraud prosecution case he's going through now would suggest", Vance said on "Deadline: White House". "He is fighting back", she said.

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. "Or two, I could have called [Manafort and Gates] liars".

She said she knowingly sent the fraudulent letter to the bank because she thought the institution would vet the document.

"Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation", Trump tweeted Wednesday. But the income statements that DMP provided to the banks that gave it loans were rife with misspellings, used different fonts and headers, omitted corporate disclaimers and left out some numbers the bookkeeper would have included.

Mr. Manafort had claimed a company called Paranova Holdings had loaned him $1.5 million over several years.

Laporta also described an effort by Manafort and Gates to falsify financial records that would allow Manafort to obtain mortgage loans.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has questioned the government's use of such materials and in several instances, directed prosecutors not to use photographs and other evidence of Manafort's lavish lifestyle.

"Did you have concerns about representation you received about these foreign loans?" That fits within the three-week timetable Ellis said he was hoping for before the trial began.

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One witness, Maximillian Katzman, said Manafort was one of the best customers at the luxury menswear boutique where he used to work in Midtown Manahattan.

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

Paul Manafort, President Trump's onetime campaign chairman, is on trial in federal court in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges.

Laporta was one of five witnesses granted immunity for the trial.

Manafort's trial, on its face, doesn't have much to do with Russian collusion or even Trump.

While Manafort's is the first case that Mueller has brought to trial, he has charged 31 other people with dozens of charges including conspiracy, failure to register as foreign agents, and lying to federal law enforcement. While Manafort's case isn't about the 2016 campaign, he's the first defendant Mueller's team has taken to trial, and the outcome could affect public opinion of the special counsel investigation the president has called a "witch hunt".

The 18 charges against Manafort predate his time managing Trump's US presidential election campaign in 2016.

Philip Ayliff, an accountant with KWC, told jurors on Thursday, the first day of his testimony, the lack of accurate information would lead to an incorrect tax return.

The jury heard testimony from the chief operating officer of an audio and visual equipment company that did lucrative business with Manafort. Washkuhn, who kept track of Manafort's personal and business expenses, said all of his bills were mounting in early 2016. Gates said he did so at Manafort's direction.

"I am confused", Gates said.

Paul Manafort pictured earlier this month. Asonye asked. Ayliff said no. Manafort is accused of conspiracy to evade US taxes and banking laws.

Recall that according to USA investigators, a former lobbyist of the Party of regions by Paul Manafort earned more than $60 million as a political consultant in Ukraine.

Jurors also saw on each tax return that Manafort answered "None" to the question of whether he had foreign accounts.

Manafort's defense attorneys do not seem to have scored a lot of points on cross-examination, Futterman said, but added that the witnesses who have testified so far are not "the main targets".

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