Paul Manafort Guilty of 8 Charges in Fraud Trial

Politics

The money came from Ukrainian oligarchs who paid Mr. Manafort to boost the political career of Viktor F. Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who, with Mr. Manafort’s help was elected president of Ukraine in 2010.

Financial analysts for the F.B.I. and the Internal Revenue Service testified that Mr. Manafort transferred more than $15 million from those accounts to pay for landscaping, clothing, rugs, home renovations and entertainment systems. In 2012 alone, he wired enough money from the hidden accounts to purchase a loft in SoHo, a brownstone in Brooklyn and a residence in Arlington, Va., they said. Mr. Manafort also disguised some of his income as loans to avoid taxes, witnesses testified.

Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Manafort initiated another scheme after Mr. Yanukovych was forced out of office in 2014.

Defense lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Manafort had no income by the time the Trump campaign hired him in March 2016 as a volunteer, first to manage delegates to the Republican National Convention, then as campaign chairman. Still, he bought his annual season tickets to the New York Yankees, charging $210,600 to his American Express card that went unpaid for nearly a year.

In order to persuade three banks to loan him a total of $20 million, prosecutors said, Mr. Manafort added millions of dollars in fake income to his financial statements. Defense lawyers contended that the banks were well aware of Mr. Manafort’s overall financial situation, and gave him loans because he had a net worth of $21.2 million and valuable real estate as collateral.

Out of the jury’s earshot, Mr. Andres complained repeatedly to Judge Ellis that he was erecting unfair obstacles for the prosecution, interjecting when they tried to examine their witnesses on the stand. “The court interrupts every single one of the government’s directs, every single one,” he said.

The judge had criticized independent counsels this year, apparently conflating them with special counsels like Mr. Mueller, who operates under the supervision of the Justice Department. By the midpoint of the trial, he was markedly more polite to the prosecutors. He agreed to apologize to the jury for wrongly accusing them of making a courtroom mistake with a key witness.

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