The Latest: Bookkeeper notes false info on Manafort forms
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the Paul Manafort’s financial fraud trial (all times local):
Paul Manafort’s longtime bookkeeper is testifying that profit and loss statements the former Trump campaign chairman submitted to obtain bank loans contained false information — and, at times, obvious misspellings.
Heather Washkuhn of accounting firm NKFSB says one of the false statements was inflated by as much as $4 million. She says she could tell the document was falsified because the fonts were off and words were misspelled, including the month of September.
The testimony for the prosecution comes on the third day of Manafort’s trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges.
Manafort’s attorneys have sought to pin any illegal conduct on longtime Manafort deputy, Rick Gates. But Washkuhn has undercut that argument, saying Manafort was heavily involved in directing his finances.
Paul Manafort never told his bookkeeper about the foreign bank accounts he used to pay for millions in luxury items and other personal expenses.
That’s according to the former Trump campaign chairman’s bookkeeper who is testifying in his financial fraud trial.
Heather Washkuhn of the accounting firm NKFSB says that Manafort approved “every penny” of the personal bills she paid for him but he kept her in the dark about any offshore bank accounts.
Other witnesses have testified Manafort paid them millions from the offshore accounts tied to foreign shell companies for landscaping, expensive clothing and even a Karaoke machine.
But when prosecutor Greg Andres read off some of the companies, Washkuhn said Manafort never told her about them.
She says she would have documented them for tax purposes if he had.
Prosecutors in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort say they intend to put Rick Gates on the stand.
Gates is Manafort’s business associate. He pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to cooperate and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
He has been regarded as the government’s star witness, and defense lawyers have already signaled that they plan to attack his credibility.
Prosecutors on Thursday said that they do intend to call Gates as a witness after having suggested a day earlier that they had not made a final decision.
Prosecutors in the trial of Paul Manafort are asking judge for greater leeway in presenting more evidence of Manafort’s personal expenditures.
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.
Prosecutors made their arguments to Ellis Thursday in a seven-page motion saying that their evidence “is directly relevant to the elements of the charged offenses” and not prejudicial to Manafort’s defense.
Ellis rebuked the prosecution team Wednesday for relying on photographs of expensive rugs and clothes and noted that it’s not a crime to be wealthy.
Bookkeepers and accountants are expected to testify in the third day of trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
They would be part of the prosecution effort to prove Manafort hid millions in income from the IRS and used the funds for a lavish lifestyle.
Manafort’s attorneys are putting the blame for any illegal activity on his business associate, Rick Gates.
The prosecution’s focus on Manafort’s personal finances underscored the vast amount of documents accumulated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in their case against the longtime political consultant.
It also tried the patience of U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who repeatedly scolded prosecutors for what he said was excessive and unnecessary information.
The prosecution in the trial in Alexandria, Virginia, expects to rest its case next week.