The Manafort trial: Testimony continues on Day 2

The second day of testimony in the Manafort trial just ended. Here’s how it went down.

The second day of testimony in the Paul Manafort trial has just wrapped up. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • The witnesses: The jury heard testimony from several witnesses, including political TV ad consultant Daniel Rabin, FBI agent Matthew Mikuska, clothing store manager Maximillian Katzman, general contractor Stephen Jacobson, financial officer Daniel Opsut, longtime Manafort neighbor Wayne Holland, builder Douglas Deluca and Ronald Wall, a financial executive at the House of Bijan.
  • Trump tweets: President Trump started the day tweeting about his former campaign chairman — in one tweet he posed the question: “Who was treated worse” Al Capone or Paul Manafort?
  • The luxury items: Katzman, a former clothing store manager, testified that Manafort paid for tens of thousands of dollars worth in expensive suits with international wire transfers. Opsut, who works at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Virginia, said the Manafort family bought and leased expensive cars using Manafort’s offshore accounts in Cyprus.
  • Trump mentioned: The word “Trump” landed in the courtroom for the first time during trial. Jacobson, the general contractor, told the jury he worked on renovations at Manafort’s Trump Tower apartment.
  • Rick Gates: Prosecutors raised the prospect that Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, would not be called as a witness, potentially complicating the defense’s attempts to deflect blame from Manafort to Gates.
  • What prosecutors said: Prosecutors said they plan to rest their case against Manafort next week but did not indicate which day they expect to be done.

Paul Manafort used offshore accounts to finance a grandiose home renovation that included an outdoor kitchen and garden, according to testimony from a contractor who worked with Manafort years ago.

Virginia-based builder Douglas Deluca told the jury that the project included an exterior garden design, outdoor kitchen and outside seating. The “outdoor garden concept,” as Deluca put it, also featured soapstone counter-tops, antique brick and a pergola, a large wooden structure that provides shade to those underneath.

In an email, Manafort told him: “On matters of contract and budget, you will deal with me.”

By having DeLuca read the email aloud, prosecutors highlighted that Manafort was directly involved with the payments for the project.

Manafort’s defense team has blamed Manafort’s longtime deputy Rick Gates for the alleged financial wrongdoing. But DeLuca and some other witnesses on Wednesday said they never met Gates or heard of him. One of the witnesses who sold luxury suits said Gates would sometimes facilitate Manafort’s payments.

Longtime friend and neighbor testifies against Manafort

Wayne Holland, longtime friend and neighbor of Paul Manafort, was briefly questioned by prosecutors and the defense team about a real estate deal he helped the Manaforts with.

  • In 2012, Holland helped Manafort’s daughter Andrea buy a house in Arlington, Virginia, for $1.9 million.
  • Manafort had told Holland over email he’d pay for the property through a company called Lucicle Consultants Limited.
  • Prosecutors have said this company is among the shell companies in Cyprus that Manafort used to hide cash from the US government.

Manafort himself handled much of the payment and orchestrated the transaction, Holland told the jury. Holland also said the Manaforts offered the full listing price for the house when they bought it.

Holland is a neighbor across the street from Paul and Kathleen Manafort, who both watched him closely as he testified. Holland has known the couple for almost 30 years, after he noticed a bolt of lightning hit their house.

Holland said they were “very close friends.”

When asked by defense attorney Jay Nunavati if Manafort and his wife…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.