Prosecutors portray Trump's ex-campaign chief as a liar and tax cheat

Prosecutors portray Trump's ex-campaign chief as a liar and tax cheat

The prosecution called both Ronald Wall, the chief financial officer of the House of Bijan, and Maximillian Katzman, the former manager of the New York City-based Alan Couture, to the witness stand on the second day of the trial against Manafort.

The prosecutors claimed that the detail and attention paid to each item Tuesday would prove that Manafort directed payment for each and that they were each personal rather than business expenses, and that detailing specific expenditures and how he paid for them was necessary to demonstrate Manafort's income, which they say he underreported on his tax returns.

"Not tax, not banking law", said Uzo Asonye, a member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team looking at possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign in 2016.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis asked the prosecution whether they planned to have Gates testify.

This on Day 2 of Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges of tax and bank fraud, not related to Robert Mueller's Russian Federation election tamper investigation, though that distinction seems lost on Trump.

A prosecutor showed Mikuska and the jury a series of invoices, including for home improvement work, that were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the August 2017 raid.

The second day of the trial of Paul Manafort in Alexandria, Va., detailed the free-spending ways of the political consultant, from buying some of the most expensive suits in the world, to buying his daughter a almost $2 million home, paid for with cash.

It was Gates, the defense said, who was supposed to keep track of the money Manafort earned.

One big question is the role Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates will play in the trial.

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Matthew Mikuska, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, described on Wednesday how agents approached Manafort's tony condominium last summer, knocking three times before ultimately gaining entrance to the "large, luxury unit" using a key.

Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleges that Manafort stashed millions of dollars he was paid by pro-Russian, Ukrainian pols in Cypriot banks to avoid paying takes on the money in the US.

When questioning witnesses who provided services to Manafort, prosecutors showed invoices that appeared to have been falsified as they sought to document the fraud charges. "That's what Rick Gates was being paid to do". Katzman testified that Manafort was one of the store's top five customers, purchasing an unusually high number of suits.

"By the standard of a bootlegging mob boss whose outfit was responsible for multiple murders, you could argue that Capone got off pretty easy", said Jonathan Eig, the author of "Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster".

Central to the government's case are allegations that Manafort funneled more than $60 million in proceeds from his Ukrainian political consulting through offshore accounts, including in Cyprus, and hid a "significant" portion of it from the IRS. At one point, his defense lawyers sued Mueller and the Justice Department, saying they'd overstepped their bounds by bringing a prosecution untethered to the core questions of Mueller's investigation - whether Russian Federation worked with the Trump campaign to tip the election. It opened with extraordinary anticipation amid unresolved questions about whether Trump associates coordinated with the Kremlin to tip the election in the president's favor. Gates is expected to be a prominent witness at the trial.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Manafort's attorney Thomas Zehnle has warned jurors that Gates cannot be trusted and is the type of witness who would say anything he could to save himself from a lengthy prison sentence and a crippling financial penalty.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A Manafort conviction would give momentum to Mueller, who has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies since his probe started 14 months ago.

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