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Tag: Robert Mueller

Prosecutors: How Manafort Evaded Taxes, Falsified Records to Finance ‘Extravagant Lifestyle’

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel prosecutors on Friday shifted from Paul Manafort’s “extravagant lifestyle” to how he allegedly evaded taxes and falsified his bookkeeping to obtain loans used to finance his expensive tastes for clothes and real estate.

Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman during the election, is accused of hiding millions of dollars in secret, off-short bank accounts from profits he made working with a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, the Washington Post reports

Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax fraud, banking crimes and conspiracy.

Friday was the fourth day of the criminal trial in Alexandria, Va.

In testimony early Friday, prosecutors sought to show how Manafort lied about the existence of off-shore accounts.

Tax preparer Philip Ayliff testified that Manafort claimed numerous times that he had no foreign bank accounts.

In an email from Ayliff to Manafort, the tax preparer asked Manafort if he had any interested in a foreign bank account, and Manafort responded that he didn’t.

“They never told us about any income that was deposited in foreign accounts,” he said.

If convicted, the 69-year-old Manafort could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mueller Offers Concessions for an Interview with Trump about Russia Investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has offered to change the format for an interview with President Trump that may include limiting some questions and offering some answers to be in writing.

Talks between special counsel prosecutors and Trump’s team have resumed in recent days, but it’s uncertain whether a deal will be reached, PBS reports

Trump has publicly insisted he wants to sit down for an interview, but his legal team has intervened out of concern that he will commit perjury.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani earlier this week suggested Trump would agree to an interview if it only relates allegations that his campaign colluding with Russia to undermine the presidential election. Giuliani doesn’t want special counsel to question the president about obstruction of justice.

The negotiations come at a heated time. Trump earlier this week urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller, calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Steve Bannon Calls Mueller a ‘Good Man’ But Suggests Rosenstein Should Be Fired Unless Documents Released

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former White House political strategist Steve Bannon called special counsel Robert Mueller “a good man, a combat-veteran Marine” in a strong departure from President Trump’s rhetoric.

But Bannon also insisted in an interview with The Hill that there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia and that Mueller should release a report on his findings before the mid-term elections so Americans can make up their own minds on the veracity of the investigation. 

“Let the American people, on Nov. 6, let them decide,” Bannon said. “They are going to say that is too thin a reed to hang anything serious on.”

Bannon also suggested Trump should fire Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, if he doesn’t disclose documents related to the Russia investigation.

“If he doesn’t do it in 72 hours, he’s fired. I’d fire him,” Bannon said.

Bannon’s positive comments about Mueller strongly contrast with Trump’s rhetoric.

“Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend,” the president tweeted. “Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama….And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier?”

Giuliani: Trump’s Legal Team Preparing ‘Counter-Report’ to Rebut Mueller’s Findings on Russia Probe

Rudy Giuliani, president Trump’s attorney.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday his legal team is preparing a rebuttal in the form a “counter-report” to counter accusations that special counsel Robert Mueller’s is expected to outline a report about the Russia investigation.

Giuliani told the USA Today said he suspects Mueller’s team of prosecutors is “writing the report as we speak.” 

Giuliani said the counter-report would be released after his legal  team reviewed Mueller’s filing with the Justice Department.

Mueller’s office declined to comment, and it’s unclear whether he’s even working on such a report.

Giuliani said he expects Mueller to turn over the report on Sept. 1, which is two months before the midterm elections.

From Riches to Rags: Manafort’s Lavish Lifestyle Takes Center Stage at Criminal Trial

House of Bijan, where Paul Manafort liked to shop.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Before Paul Manafort began leading the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, the Republican political operative lived an extravagant lifestyle, spending more than $1 million on lavish clothes between 2010 and 2014, more than $6 million on seven homes, $820,000 to manicure the lawns, a $21,000 black titanium and crystal watch and a $15,000 ostrich jacket. 

During the second day of the criminal trial Wednesday, prosecutors said Manafort financed his lifestyle by using wire transfers from secret offshore accounts to dodge taxes and lying to banks about his income to acquire loans.

Paul Manafort jail mugshot.

The high-priced consultant accumulated the wealth working for government officials in Ukraine.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating Russian interference during the presidential election, charged Manafort with 18 criminal counts, including tax evasion, bank fraud and conspiracy. If convicted, the 69-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A manager and CFO at luxury retailer Alan Couture and the exclusive menswear retailer House of Bijan testified, describing Manafort’s pricey spending habits that included tailored pin-stripe suits, neckwear and jackets.

The defense sought to undermine government witness Paul Gates, a former business partner of Manafort’s, saying Gates often made the payments to buy the luxury items. for Manafort.

Gates cut a plea deal with prosecutors to provide information about Manafort’s expenses.

Trump Urges AG Sessions to Nix Special Counsel Probe of Collusion, Obstruction of Justice

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump on Wednesday urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to nix the special counsel investigation into allegations of collusion and obstruction of justice in his administration and presidential campaign.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

Trump continued, “Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX. The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!”

Following the tweets, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani tried to downplay the comments.

“We have been saying for months that it is time to bring this inquiry to an end. The President has expressed the same opinion,” Giuliani said.

Trump has been angry with Sessions since he recused himself from any investigation involving Trump’s campaign because the former senator was involved in the campaign and acknowledged speaking to at least one high-level Russian in the lead-up to the campaign.

That gave Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authority to appoint Robert Mueller to investigate Russia’s involvement in the campaign following Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

Despite Trump’s rhetoric and claims that his campaign and administration did nothing wrong, he continues to refuse to sit down with Mueller for an interview.

Mueller Refers Lobbyists’ Work with Ukrainian Governments to Federal Prosecutors in N.Y.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The deeper special counsel Robert Mueller looks, the uglier his findings get.

The former FBI director who is leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election has led him to something unrelated – lobbyists and consultants working for the Ukrainian government.

This week, Pauk Manafort is on trial on numerous charges of tax evasion and bank fraud related to millions of dollars he made working with Ukrainian officials.  

CNN is now reporting that Mueller has turned over new cases involving the Ukrainian government to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. 

Prosecutors are investigating whether U.S. lobbyists failed to register their work supporting the Ukrainian government. Those lobbyists include Democrat Tony Podesta, ex-Minnesota GOP Rep. Vin Weber and former President Obama’s White House counsel Greg Craig.

No charges have been filed yet, and it’s unclear how far along prosecutors are in the investigation.

$15,000 Ostrich Jacket? Prosecutors: Manafort’s Lavish Lifestyle Financed by Tax Evasion, Fraud, Pr

Paul Manafort

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, relished his “extravagant lifestyle” so much that he committed tax evasion and bank fraud to finance it, special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors said Tuesday in opening arguments. 

Prosecutors told a jury that Manafort “believed the law did not apply to him – not tax law, not banking law” as he splurged on real estate and swanky clothes, including a $15,000 jacket “made from an ostrich.”

“He got whatever he wanted,” assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye said in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Defense attorneys painted a much different picture, saying Manafort was victimized by his deceptive former partner, Rick Gates, who agreed to cooperative with prosecutors in exchange for leniency. And if Manafort failed to pay the proper amount of taxes, his attorneys say it was inadvertent. 

If convicted, Manafort could be sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

Prosecutors said Manafort dodged paying his taxes while he worked as a consultant for a political party in Ukraine and then lied to banks to continue getting loans as his payments stopped.

The trial resumes today.

Follow Ticklethewire.com for daily coverage of the trial.

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