Defense lawyer: Gates to testify next in Manafort’s trial

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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. Manafort's tax returns have not yet been introduced into evidence. That could change if Laporta's credibility is undermined on cross, the person said.

"It's kind of leading up to Gates" testimony that, "Yep, this is what he was telling me to do, '" the former USA prosecutor said. One accounting trick saved Manafort $500,000 in taxes, she said.

"All they have left to show - and an agent can do this - is who had authority to make transactions from those foreign accounts", the former DOJ attorney said.

Former federal prosecutor Patrick Cotter said in a previous interview with Mic that given the amount of paper evidence against Manafort, this was the most logical defense for Manafort's lawyers to mount.

Laporta also told jurors about another $1.5 million loan on the books of Manafort's company that caused Citizens Bank to balk at issuing a new loan on property Manafort owned in Manhattan.

She said she knowingly sent the fraudulent letter to the bank because she thought the institution would vet the document. U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye asked Laporta.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III asked Laporta about her understanding of the forgiven loan.

"Did you have concerns about representation you received about these foreign loans?" "You're entitled to go into that in any detail you want to", he said.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further", the president tweeted.

The jury also heard from several money managers contracted to keep tabs on Manafort's cash flow.

Ayliff and another bookkeeper who worked with Manafort, Heather Washkuhn, were the only two witnesses to testify Thursday afternoon. Later, they say, when that income dwindled, Manafort launched a different scheme, shoring up his struggling finances by using doctored documents to obtain millions more in bank loans.

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Testifying on the fourth day of the trial, Ms Laporta, who has been given immunity in exchange for testifying, said she knew what she did with fabricating the loan was "not appropriate".

Manafort faces charges of bank fraud and tax evasion that could put him in prison for the rest of his life. It's the first courtroom test of special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is looking into Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 US election and whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Kremlin to sway voters.

The trial, however, is not about Russian Federation, or any such conspiracy, focused instead on the personal and business finances of Manafort, Trump's onetime campaign chairman.

The hugely anticipated courtroom showdown brought Gates face-to-face with his longtime business associate and fellow Trump campaign aide. The judge asked if she was concerned about being prosecuted without immunity, and she said yes.

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. In that email, Manafort said that while UBS believed it was a rental unit, he had never rented it out and he used it with his wife as a residence.

Manafort is contending that any criminal conduct in his business dealings should be pinned on his long-time deputy, Rick Gates, while prosecutors are attempting to prove that Gates acted with the full knowledge, and under the direct instruction, of Manafort.

The defense in the case is likely to subject Gates to an intensive cross-examination after arguing during opening statements that he embezzled millions of dollars from Manafort and then turned against him under pressure from Mueller. Kilimnik is a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant who was indicted in June on charges stemming from the Mueller probe.

They have also accused Mr. Manafort of disguising income drawn from these accounts as loans to avoid paying taxes on it. Mr. Gates said he would "chase down signatures", an indication that the letter was fake.

Paul Manafort pictured earlier this month.

"When we try to describe the work, Your Honor stops us and tell us to move on", he said.

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