Feedback

The prosecution’s Uzo Asonye also said Manafort paid his tax preparers $10,000 every year. They would ask him in writing if he had foreign bank accounts. “Every year he lied,” Asonye said. “Then he lied to the IRS,” thus falsifying his tax returns.

Asonye said Manafort funneled millions from foreign accounts to pay vendors in the U.S., including $21,000 for a watch and $15,000 for a jacket made from ostrich.

Asonye told the jury that Manafort hired a bookkeeper for $100,000 per year to pay his bills and prepare his financial statements, only to mislead her too.

Asonye called Manafort “shrewd,” bringing money into his accounts because he knew if he didn’t show any income, the government would get suspicious.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” Asonye said.

Asonye then turned to Manafort’s loans, saying the jury will see income falsely called loans — as his lenders were his shell companies in Cyprus — where no collateral was ever put down, no interest payments were required, and he never made a single loan payment.

When funds dried up from Manafort’s “golden goose,” former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Asonye said, Manafort applied for tens of millions in loans. He said he lied about his income and debt to qualify for huge loans. In 2015, he declared his consulting firm, DMP, had zero income and zero profits.

Asonye summed up his statement saying that Manafort submitted multiple false loan apps and used his associates to commit fraud to keep his own hands clean.

Asonye closed his opening statement by saying he will show the jury that Manafort lied to his bookkeeper, lied to the IRS and lied to financial institutions — that he “orchestrated these crimes” and committed bank fraud.

latest posts from Updates

Ken Dilanian

Manafort guilty on 8 counts; mistrial declared on 10 other charges

A federal jury in Virginia convicted Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, on eight counts on Tuesday, but the judge declared a mistrial on the 10 other charges he faced.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts and two counts of bank fraud. A mistrial was declared in three counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, and seven counts of bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy.

The trial was the first public test of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and while the special counsel was vindicated, the victory wasn't total.

READ MORE

Jury sent back for further deliberations

The jury has been sent back for further deliberations by Judge Ellis at 11:55. He said, "You should not change your honest conviction soley for the purpose of other jurors or just to come to a verdict.

Judge Ellis implored them to come to consensus, and if they then could not,he would consider the necessity of a hung jury.

Jury to judge: What if we can't come to a consensus on one count?

Jury submits question to judge on Day 4 of deliberations

The jury began Day 4 of deliberations in the Manafort fraud trial at 9:37 a.m., and just before 11 a.m., the jury delivered a note to the judge, prompting a flurry of activity.

It was a question, not a verdict: What if we can't come to a consensus on one count? 

Jury begins day 3 of deliberations

Judge Ellis brought the jury into the courtroom promptly at 9:30 a.m. Monday morning and called roll. Jurors were asked if they were able to stay away from news reports and other influences over the weekend, and they all answered that they had.

Deliberations resumed at 9:34 a.m.

Jury dismissed for weekend with no verdict yet reached

Judge Ellis dismissed the jury for the weekend and told them to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Jurors were dismissed at 4:55 p.m.

Jury note: We want to go home at 5 p.m.

The jury gave Judge Ellis a note to let him know that they'll finish deliberations for the day at 5 p.m, because one of the members of the jury has an event they'd like to attend tonight.

Court will reconvene at 4:50 p.m. After that, the jury will be asked what time they wish to report on Monday.

Dartunorro Clark

Judge says he has gotten threats, won't reveal juror names

District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, who is overseeing the bank and tax fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, said Friday that he has received threats that necessitate U.S. marshal protection to and from the courthouse.

"I had no idea that this case would excite these emotions, I will tell you that frankly," Ellis told the court as the jury deliberated for a second day. The case is being tried in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ellis's admission came during an afternoon hearing brought by a coalition of media outlets, including NBC News, to unseal juror names and bench conference transcripts of conversations the judge had with the defense and the prosecution.

READ MORE

Jury resumes deliberations, judge grants hearing to unseal documents

The jury resumed deliberations at 9:37 a.m. on Friday after being empaneled by Judge T.S. Ellis.

Judge Ellis also responded to a request from media organizations to unseal certain documents. Ellis granted the request to intervene and will schedule a hearing to hear arguments "sometime after 2 p.m."

He reiterated that all sealings in the case will be unsealed after the trial is over. It would be disruptive to unseal certain documents during the trial, he said. Nevertheless, he will consider the request.

"I'm no stranger to criticism," Ellis said. "This case has brought it to a new level."

Jury asks 4 questions, including query about reasonable doubt

The note, delivered to Judge Ellis minutes ago, contains four questions from the jury. The judge heard argument from both sides as to the answers. 

Court is now dismissed for the day, and the jury will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Here are the questions from the jury, and the answers the judge gave. 

Question: Is one required to file an FBAR if they own less than 50% of the company and no signatory authority?

Answer: After suggestion from the prosecution, Judge Ellis reread Jury Instruction #53, which defined FBARs, and the details surrounding FBARS.

ELLIS: A person is an owner of record (Owner of FBAR) if a person is acting on behalf of a US person with access and control of the account, OR if a US person who owned more than 50% of company.

Q: Define "shelf company"?

A: Rely on collective recollection.

Q: Can you redefine reasonable doubt?

A: The government is not required to prove beyond "all possible doubt," just doubt that can be reasoned.

Q: Can the exhibit list be amended to include the indictment?

A: No.