Paul Manafort: Third Day Recap

Former President Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s trial, on bank and tax fraud charges wrapped up it’s third day in Alexandria, Virginia.

The highlights provided by The Washington Post

Testified on Thursday

Two more vendors testified Thursday morning both pointed out fake invoices, citing missing or incomplete information as to why they felt the invoices we fake. The prosecutors did not explain to the jurors why the fake invoices were important. They also testified to Manafort’s lavish spending habits, one a landscape company owner, Michael Regolizio told jurors that Manafort had a bed of red flowers in the shape of an M on his property in the Hamptons.

One of Manafort’s bookkeepers, Heather Washkuhn “managing director at California-based Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno,” testified that she had “access to,” all of “Manafort’s personal and business bank accounts.” Washkuhn also said she oversaw several of Manafort’s properties.

Washkuhn who worked for Manafort from 2011 to 2018 called him “an engaged client, “He was very knowledgeable. He was very detail oriented,” she told jurors, “he approved every penny of everything we paid.” Washkuhn also testified that she had no knowledge of Manafort having bank accounts outside the United States.

Washkuhn’s testimony lasted over two hours.

Under cross examination Washkuhn told jurors that Rick Gates, had the authority to also to “direct wire transfers from overseas, “he handled a lot of business affairs,” Washkuh said of Gates, but as the questions moved toward Gates, as the defense has alleged that Gates, embezzled money without Manafort’s knowledge, the bookkeeper said that it was Manafort not Gates that, “approved every expenditure on the personal and business side,”

Philip Ayliff, a former Manafort accountant from the firm Kositzka, Wicks and Company took the stand late Thursday afternoon and began his testimony that is expected to resume on Friday and last about two hours, he told jurors, that Manafort “was essentially on the hook for any problems with his taxes,” regardless of whether or not Rick Gates acted alone without Manafort’s knowledge.

Ayliff explained that every year clients are sent an engagement letter that warned them that the firm, “will not audit or verify the data you submit,” and that “our engagement … does not include any procedures designed to detect material errors, irregularities or illegal acts.”

Ayliff explained that clients would be given a form that explained the civil or criminal penalties for failing to report foreign bank accounts on your tax returns. Manafort signed off on tax returns from 2011 to 2014 in which he stated he had no “foreign bank accounts,” this according to documents introduced by prosecutors. Ayliff told jurors, “We … ask clients about foreign accounts every year. We wanted to make sure clients were adhering to this rule, because the penalties are very severe.”

Court resumes on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

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Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.