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  1. #61

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 8 Part 3

    12:12 p.m.: On fraud charge, Manafort lawyers try to sort out his statements to bank while seeking loan

    In his cross examination of mortgage loan assistant Melinda James, defense attorney Jay Nanavati sought to cast blame on Rick Gates for the inaccuracy of Paul Manafort’s loan application to Citizens Bank.

    Nanavati first sought to demonstrate that the process for obtaining a loan is a lengthy one, and a person’s finances can evolve during that time. He showed James an email from Paul Manafort in December 2015 providing some information to Citizens Bank about the loan he wanted. Manafort did not close on the loan until March of the following year.

    Prosecutors have shown evidence that Manafort misled the bank in applying for that loan, particularly by claiming that other of his properties were free of mortgages.

    As prosecutors questioned her, James testified that she was tipped to a possible mortgage on another property, located on Union Street in New York, because of insurance documentation. She testified that Rick Gates told her the other property did not have a mortgage because Manafort had elected not to go through with it.

    Nanavati pointed to an email that showed Manafort actually told James on Feb. 24, 2016, that a mortgage had just been “approved” on the Union Street property. That was after James had received the insurance documents and raised questions about why Manafort had initially told the bank the Union Street property did not have a mortgage.

    Under Nanavati’s questioning, James testified that Gates called her later that day and told her he and Manafort were “not moving forward” with the mortgage on the Union Street property. She seemed to reconcile that with what Manafort had told her earlier because she assumed the word “approved” meant Manafort was in the process of shopping around for mortgages on the Union Street property and had received an initial go-ahead from a bank. In fact, he had closed on a mortgage there.


    The FBI seemed to have a report of James telling them that Gates told her the Union Street mortgage had been paid off, but James testified that was not her recollection of her conversation with the FBI. That could be an important detail later, if Manafort’s defense attempts to question the accuracy of statements the FBI collected.

    James testified that after her call with Gates on Feb. 24, 2016, Gates sent her more insurance documentation, which did not list a mortgage on the Union Street property. That documentation, though, was older than what she had seen previously. James testified she did not notice that at the time.

    In the final minutes of James’s testimony, Nanavati again sought to lay blame for any discrepancies with Gates.

    “When he’s unreachable, Rick Gates is the person to deal with, correct?” Nanavati asked James.

    “Correct,” James testified.

    James had understood, based on an email from Manafort, that there was a mortgage closing on the Union Street property in Brooklyn. But that changed after a call from Gates and subsequent emails. In the messages, Gates told James there would be no mortgage on Union Street, she testified.

    The call from Gates is when “things went off the rails, correct?” Nanavati asked James about the confusion over the mortgage.

    “If you want to call it going off the rails,” James said.

    At the close of James’s testimony, prosecutors tried to reinforce that even if Gates sent conflicting information about the Union Street mortgage, it was Manafort who signed all papers confirming the accuracy of the paperwork provided to secure the loan. Manafort was copied on all the emails Gates sent and had ample opportunity to correct any discrepancies on those messages or at closing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye established with James.

    “What’s the purpose of having people sign the documents at closing,” Asonye asked.

    “To confirm the information is correct,” James said.

    Asonye also revived a previously shown email between Manafort and his son in law, highlighting that Manafort knew the property was being rented out. The message was telling his son-in-law that the appraiser was coming and needed access to the property on Howard street.

    “Remember, he believes that you and Jessica are living there,” Manafort wrote.


    After James finished her testimony, Darin Evenson, an executive with rental site Airbnb took the stand. Prosecutors have accused Manafort of listing his properties for rent on Airbnb.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  2. #62

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 8 Part 3

    12:12 p.m.: On fraud charge, Manafort lawyers try to sort out his statements to bank while seeking loan

    In his cross examination of mortgage loan assistant Melinda James, defense attorney Jay Nanavati sought to cast blame on Rick Gates for the inaccuracy of Paul Manafort’s loan application to Citizens Bank.

    Nanavati first sought to demonstrate that the process for obtaining a loan is a lengthy one, and a person’s finances can evolve during that time. He showed James an email from Paul Manafort in December 2015 providing some information to Citizens Bank about the loan he wanted. Manafort did not close on the loan until March of the following year.

    Prosecutors have shown evidence that Manafort misled the bank in applying for that loan, particularly by claiming that other of his properties were free of mortgages.

    As prosecutors questioned her, James testified that she was tipped to a possible mortgage on another property, located on Union Street in New York, because of insurance documentation. She testified that Rick Gates told her the other property did not have a mortgage because Manafort had elected not to go through with it.

    Nanavati pointed to an email that showed Manafort actually told James on Feb. 24, 2016, that a mortgage had just been “approved” on the Union Street property. That was after James had received the insurance documents and raised questions about why Manafort had initially told the bank the Union Street property did not have a mortgage.

    Under Nanavati’s questioning, James testified that Gates called her later that day and told her he and Manafort were “not moving forward” with the mortgage on the Union Street property. She seemed to reconcile that with what Manafort had told her earlier because she assumed the word “approved” meant Manafort was in the process of shopping around for mortgages on the Union Street property and had received an initial go-ahead from a bank. In fact, he had closed on a mortgage there.


    The FBI seemed to have a report of James telling them that Gates told her the Union Street mortgage had been paid off, but James testified that was not her recollection of her conversation with the FBI. That could be an important detail later, if Manafort’s defense attempts to question the accuracy of statements the FBI collected.

    James testified that after her call with Gates on Feb. 24, 2016, Gates sent her more insurance documentation, which did not list a mortgage on the Union Street property. That documentation, though, was older than what she had seen previously. James testified she did not notice that at the time.

    In the final minutes of James’s testimony, Nanavati again sought to lay blame for any discrepancies with Gates.

    “When he’s unreachable, Rick Gates is the person to deal with, correct?” Nanavati asked James.

    “Correct,” James testified.

    James had understood, based on an email from Manafort, that there was a mortgage closing on the Union Street property in Brooklyn. But that changed after a call from Gates and subsequent emails. In the messages, Gates told James there would be no mortgage on Union Street, she testified.

    The call from Gates is when “things went off the rails, correct?” Nanavati asked James about the confusion over the mortgage.

    “If you want to call it going off the rails,” James said.

    At the close of James’s testimony, prosecutors tried to reinforce that even if Gates sent conflicting information about the Union Street mortgage, it was Manafort who signed all papers confirming the accuracy of the paperwork provided to secure the loan. Manafort was copied on all the emails Gates sent and had ample opportunity to correct any discrepancies on those messages or at closing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye established with James.

    “What’s the purpose of having people sign the documents at closing,” Asonye asked.

    “To confirm the information is correct,” James said.

    Asonye also revived a previously shown email between Manafort and his son in law, highlighting that Manafort knew the property was being rented out. The message was telling his son-in-law that the appraiser was coming and needed access to the property on Howard street.

    “Remember, he believes that you and Jessica are living there,” Manafort wrote.


    After James finished her testimony, Darin Evenson, an executive with rental site Airbnb took the stand. Prosecutors have accused Manafort of listing his properties for rent on Airbnb.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  3. #63

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 8 Part 4

    12:58 p.m.: Manafort claimed SoHo apartment as “second home,” but listed it on Airbnb for almost three years


    Darin Evenson, a 22-year military veteran and former Navy SEAL commander who now runs “customer experience” at Airbnb, testified that from January 2015 through April 2016 Paul Manafort’s condo on Howard Street in Manhattan’s SoHo district was almost always available to rent through the website.

    Prosecutors showed a few examples of reservations for the property, advertised as “Amazing full floor loft in SoHo.”

    A pair of guests spent $1,971 to spend four nights in the loft in January 2015. Five guests paid $16,325 to stay there for 21 nights that June.

    Evenson testified that the loft was available for 1,125 nights in a row, the maximum number allowed on Airbnb.

    There were two breaks when the listing was taken down, he said. The first was from Oct. 27, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2015.

    The second was from Feb. 26, 2016 to March 26, 2016 — as others have testified Manafort was negotiating a loan against the property and claiming it as a “second home.”

    Cross-examination of Evenson will start at 1:30 p.m., after the lunch break.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  4. #64

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 8 Part 4

    12:58 p.m.: Manafort claimed SoHo apartment as “second home,” but listed it on Airbnb for almost three years


    Darin Evenson, a 22-year military veteran and former Navy SEAL commander who now runs “customer experience” at Airbnb, testified that from January 2015 through April 2016 Paul Manafort’s condo on Howard Street in Manhattan’s SoHo district was almost always available to rent through the website.

    Prosecutors showed a few examples of reservations for the property, advertised as “Amazing full floor loft in SoHo.”

    A pair of guests spent $1,971 to spend four nights in the loft in January 2015. Five guests paid $16,325 to stay there for 21 nights that June.

    Evenson testified that the loft was available for 1,125 nights in a row, the maximum number allowed on Airbnb.

    There were two breaks when the listing was taken down, he said. The first was from Oct. 27, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2015.

    The second was from Feb. 26, 2016 to March 26, 2016 — as others have testified Manafort was negotiating a loan against the property and claiming it as a “second home.”

    Cross-examination of Evenson will start at 1:30 p.m., after the lunch break.

    2:03 p.m.: Manafort lawyers note you can still live in a place you rent on Airbnb

    In his cross examination of Darin Evenson, the former Navy SEAL who now runs “customer experience” at Airbnb, defense attorney Jay Nanavati sought to show that Paul Manafort’s Howard Street property in lower Manhattan could still have been a residence, no matter its listing on the website.

    Nanavati asked Evenson if those who list properties on Airbnb consider them their primary residences.

    “In most cases,” Evenson responded, “it is their primary residence.” He said Airbnb data shows that 73 percent of properties listed are the hosts’ primary residences.

    Nanavati then pointed to the listing itself to show that Manafort’s son-in-law, who rented the property, seemed to treat it as a residence. The description said the host or a friend would be available to help those renting the property with problems, and the “House Rules” said only, “As you would expect me to behave in your home.”

    Nanavati asked Evenson if the property was rented for just five days in 2016, and 77 days in 2015. Evenson said he could not immediately confirm that without examining his records.

    The testimony is important because prosecutors are attempting to prove that Manafort committed bank fraud when he claimed in bank documents the Howard Street property was not a rental.

    Prosecutor Uzo Asonye ended his questioning of Evenson by confirming with the executive that people can list their rentals on other sites, not just AirBnB. So even if the Howard Street property was only actually rented for just five days in 2016 or 77 days in 2015, it could have been available or rented through other businesses.

    Evenson’s testimony was followed by Peggy Miceli, a vice president of Citizens Bank.

    Miceli’s testimony will likely be used to bolster the testimony of the day’s first witness, Melinda James, who is a mortgage loan assistant for the same institution.

    Prosecutors have accused Manafort of falsifying financial information — allegedly lying about whether he had a rental property or had a mortgage out on another property — with Citizens Bank to secure a $3.4 million loan.

    “We want all truthful information,” Miceli testified when asked about whether borrowers are expected to provide accurate information on their loan applications or possibly face criminal consequences.

    In his questioning, Asonye is again reiterating that it would be important for a bank to know of someone’s outstanding debts or whether they own rental property because it would impact whether they receive a loan.

    If someone has a rental property, a loan’s interest rate would be higher and the maximum loan available would be lower. It would also be considered a higher risk loan, Miceli testified.

    In the middle of requesting refinancing of Manafort’s Howard Street property, which prosecutors argue is a rental and defense lawyers say was a second home, it appeared that Manafort might not have qualified at one point.

    In a calculation of his debt and income, Micili wrote in an email to a colleague that “The business did not have the liquidity to dispense these $’s.”

    When Asonye asked what Micili had included at the end of her sentence, she said, “A sad face emoji,” prompting laughter in the courtroom.


    3:03 p.m.: Banker: Paul Manafort should not have gotten the loan he got

    Paul Manafort would not have gotten a $3.4 million loan in March 2015 against his lower Manhattan condo if the bank had known the property was a rental rather than a second home, Citizens Bank Vice President Peggy Miceli said.

    “The loan was way over the maximum” for an investment property rather than a home, she said, which is $1 million. Special exceptions can be made but there’s a process for that, Miceli testified, She could not recall the maximum loan ever given for an investment property but said, “it’s not a lot.”

    The loan Manafort got also allowed him to take cash out from the bank, and Miceli testified that was not allowed for loans against investment properties.

    If the bank had known Manafort had said on his taxes that the property was available for rent all year, she said, “We would determine it was an investment property.”

    She said the bank would also want to know if a letter indicating a $1.5 million loan to Manafort from Peranova Holdings was forgiven in 2015 — adding to his cash flow — had been written in 2016 and backdated.

    “Yes,” she said. “We would question it.”

    On cross-examination, defense attorney Jay Nanavati asked if it would be “better” if the bank knew Manafort “controlled” the entity that had loaned him $1.5 million.

    Of course, it is prosecutors who have alleged that Manafort controlled Peranova Holdings and stashed money there to avoid taxes.

    “Not necessarily,” Miceli replied. “We would want to see the business tax returns” for the other entity.

    Finally, Nanavati asked if Miceli was aware that her own bank had partnered with Fannie Mae and Airbnb on a program that lets people use income from the website to refinance their mortgages. She said she was not.

    That program started this year and applies only to Airbnb hosts who list their primary residence on the site for short-term rentals.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  5. #65

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 8 Part 5

    3:58 p.m.: Then Manafort applied for another loan, and was turned down


    After an afternoon break, Citizens Bank loan officer assistant Taryn Rodriguez took the stand to describe for jurors another loan Paul Manafort applied for — and apparently didn’t get.

    Rodriguez testified that Manafort applied for the loan, a $5.5 million construction loan on a property on Union Street in Brooklyn, just 30 to 45 days after he successfully got a loan from Citizens Bank in 2016. Rodriguez said she simply entered the information from that previous loan application – which previous witnesses have described as being faulty – for the new loan.

    But Rodriguez said she also did her own digging to check the accuracy of the application, searching tax records and other databases to see if there were any loans against the Union Street property. She learned there was one, for more than $1 million, that Manafort had not disclosed.

    Rodriguez said that information was “very important” to the bank. “We need to know what needs to be paid off,” she said. She said it was “very unusual” for such a loan not to be disclosed, and she notified the loan officer for whom she worked. Manafort ultimately never got the loan.


    If Manafort had disclosed the loan against Union Street, it would have had to have been paid off, or it could have lowered the cash he would have received in applying for the construction loan, Rodriguez testified.

    Rodriguez testified that Manafort also had not disclosed another loan for more than $1 million he had received from the Bank of California.

    “That’s information the bank would want to know,” she said in response to a question from prosecutor Uzo Asonye.


    The testimony is somewhat less than riveting, but it speaks to the heart of prosecutors’ case that Manafort lied on bank documents to obtain loans.

    Rodriguez testified that it was Manafort himself who sent the bank a letter from accountant Cindy Laporta claiming a $1.5 million loan from Peranova Holdings had been forgiven in 2015, upping his income.

    The bank got a profit-and-loss statement showing Manafort made $1.76 million by mid-2016, Rodriguez testified, after Manafort had emailed Rick Gates about loan documents and said, “I need this done.”

    She said the bank also got a letter from Manafort himself claiming that when construction was done the Brooklyn brownstone in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood would be his “primary NY residence” and his daughter would move into his SoHo condo.


    Judge Ellis questioned the importance of this testimony given that Manafort did not actually get the construction loan.

    “You might want to spend time on a loan that was granted,” he said as Asonye finished.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  6. #66

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 8 Part 6

    5:42 p.m.: Manafort got a $1 million loan after inflating income and indicating he had no other loans


    Prosecutors have called Gary Seferian, a vice president with the Banc of California, from which Paul Manafort applied for a $5 million loan in 2016.

    Manafort employee Rick Gates testified earlier that Manafort ordered him to alter financial documents related to an application for the loan because earlier profit-and-loss statements showed their business wasn’t making enough income to qualify. The initial application showed an income of $400,000, which Gates said he changed at Manafort’s direction to $6 million, with $4.4 million in net proceeds, and resubmitted to the bank.

    Manafort sought the loan with his son-in-law at the time to flip houses in Los Angeles, Seferian testified.

    Manafort eventually received a loan for $1 million from the Banc of California, Seferian said.

    In one Banc of California document, Manafort had indicated he was not a “borrower or a guarantor on a loan.” But prosecutor Uzo Asonye suggested that Citizens Bank may have recently approved a $3.4 million loan for Manafort’s Howard Street property at the time, contradicting Manafort’s representation on documents he signed and promised were “true, and correct, and complete.”

    Then prosecutor Uzo Asonye projected two financial documents side by side, showing net income of $400,000 and $4.4 million, to screens throughout the courtroom.

    “If you had learned that the net income in 2015 for DMP International was approximately $400,000 … would that have affected the bank’s analysis of the loan?” Asonye asked Seferian.

    “Yes, it would have,” Seferian responded.

    “Would Mr. Manafort have qualified for this loan?” Asonyne continued, noting the bank had considered an application saying DMP International made more than $4.4 million, as opposed to $400,000.

    “I don’t think so,” Seferian said.

    Asonye then walked Seferian through other items the bank had found that reduced what Manafort did qualify for. Initially, Seferian said, Manafort applied for a $5 million, but after the bank learned he had claimed to own a home that actually belonged to his wife, they reduced the amount to $1 million.

    “I was comfortable at that point,” Seferian testified.

    But Seferian made clear that was in part because of the profits he thought were coming from DMP International. Without that income, Seferian testified, the bank would have assessed that Manafort could not have both paid the bank back and covered his living expenses.

    “I believe that he would not have qualified,” Seferian said.

    The trial has ended for the day.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.136abab37e0c
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  7. #67

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    I'll be out most of today so I won't be able to post anything until the testimony of Day 9 is over.

    Of course the Washington Post will have it's live coverage up and running when testimony begins and anyone can post.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  8. #68

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 9 Preview

    Shimon Prokupecz
    ‏Verified account
    @ShimonPro

    Prosecutors want another correction from Judge Ellis:
    This time, they're asking Ellis to tell the jury to disregard his comment Thursday during a witness' testimony about alleged bank fraud conspiracy that the attorneys "might want to spend time on a loan that was granted."

    Friday morning has started with a secretive beginning. Lawyers from both sides have huddled with Judge Ellis twice with the white noise machine obscuring their conversations. The jury has not been called as of 10:06 a.m.

    After another almost 10-minute discussion with lawyers this morning, Judge Ellis called a recess for 15 minutes "maybe longer" to "consider an issue."

    It is very unclear what the delay and conversations have been about.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  9. #69

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 9 Preview continued...

    10:45 a.m.: Special counsel again asks judge to tell jury he was wrong


    Perhaps emboldened by their small victory Thursday, when Judge T.S. Ellis III conceded he was “probably wrong” to lambaste the special counsel for doing something he allowed them to do, prosecutors in the Paul Manafort trial have now asked him to tell the jury to ignore another of his intemperate comments.

    On Thursday, after Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye walked a banker through a $5.5 million loan negotiation with Paul Manafort that ended in rejection, the judge cut in with skepticism.

    “You might want to spend time on a loan that was granted,” he said.

    When Asonye protested that the attempt to get that loan constituted one of the bank fraud conspiracy charges against Manafort, Ellis responded harshly, “I know that.”

    “The Court’s statement that the government ‘might want to spend time on a loan that was granted’ misrepresents the law regarding bank fraud conspiracy, improperly conveys the Court’s opinion of the facts, and is likely to confuse and mislead the jury,” prosecutors wrote in their filing Friday morning. “The Court should provide a curative instruction in order to avoid any potential prejudice to the government.”

    Defense attorneys in other cases have pointed to similar comments from Ellis when challenging guilty verdicts in the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But prosecutors cannot appeal a not-guilty verdict, and so the special counsel has begun challenging Ellis mid-trial.

    Prosecutors filed a similar motion Thursday morning, after Ellis yelled at prosecutors for allowing their expert witness to sit through the trial in the gallery, when witnesses are typically excluded from the courtroom so as not to be influenced by other witnesses’ testimony. The transcript of the first day of trial showed Ellis had explicitly allowed the expert, an IRS agent, to stay in the courtroom.

    Ellis responded in court by saying that while he had not checked the transcript, he “may well have” allowed the expert in and that the jury should disregard his comments.

    Update:

    Shimon Prokupecz
    ‏Verified account
    @ShimonPro

    After almost an hour of waiting, lawyers and Judge Ellis returned. Ellis brought the jurors in, stressed to them the importance of not discussing the case and told them to "keep an open mind." He said the court plans to "continue with evidence" presentations in the afternoon.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  10. #70

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 9 Preview continued

    11:33 a.m.: Manafort trial, with bench conferences and no witnesses, pauses for lunch

    Paul Manafort’s trial will not resume until 1:45 p.m. Friday, though the reason for the delay is not precisely clear.

    As the trial resumed around 9:45 a.m., Judge T.S. Ellis III summoned lawyers for both sides to his bench for a conference that was blanketed by white noise. The jurors were not yet in the courtroom. He then took a short break – about 10 minutes — and returned to the courtroom for another bench conference.

    That conference was somewhat lengthier, and the judge summoned the court security officer to join the lawyers. The judge seemed to talk with the court security officer as the lawyers listened.

    Ellis then declared another recess, though before he left court, he issued a strange warning to those gathered, “You cannot look and see what’s on counsels’ tables, without their permission of course.” He left to the side of the courtroom where the jurors usually gather, which is different from where he usually exits.

    The judge said the break would take about 15 minutes, though it was substantially longer. At about 10:35 a.m., one of the judge’s staff members emerged to gather the board used during jury selection.

    At 11:07 a.m., Ellis came back and seemed to call the case as usual. “All right, bring the jury in, please,” he said.

    All 16 jurors came in.

    “A belated good morning to you,” Ellis said. He told the panel he planned to call the roll as normal, but then have an early lunch break so he could consider other matters.

    “We are going to continue with the evidence in this case in the afternoon,” Ellis said.

    Ellis’s clerk called each juror by their number, and all said they were present. As he does each morning, Ellis asked the group if they had been able to avoid talking to anyone about the case or doing their own investigation. They said they had. Then Ellis delivered a lengthier admonition.

    “It’s very important that you not discuss the case with anyone,” he said. He noted that Manafort had a “presumption of innocence,” and jurors should be keeping an open mind until the case was complete.

    “Keep an open mind until all the evidence is in,” Ellis said.

    With that, the jurors left. The panel – which has usually entered the courtroom smiling or even laughing – seemed more stone faced than usual. Ellis offered no explanation to the public for what had happened. The trial is expected to resume at 1:45 p.m.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  11. #71

    Re: The Manafort Trial


    From the Post archives: In March 1985, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater were young Republican political operatives who had set up lobbying firms in Washington. Stone continues to operate with occasional ties to Donald Trump. Atwater ran the 1988 campaign of George H.W. Bush, and died in 1991. (Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post)

    Day 9 Part 1

    2:46 p.m.: Trial resumes, another bench conference, no explanation for delay


    After a lengthy delay, Paul Manafort’s trial resumed Friday afternoon at around 2:25 p.m. with the testimony of Dennis Raico, an employee of Federal Savings Bank and one of the immunized witnesses.

    Raico’s testimony will relate to the $16 million in loans FSB issued Manafort between 2016 and 2017. Prosecutors have alleged Manafort secured the money by inflating his income on loan applications and providing fraudulent statements.

    Raico is the first witness of the day after prosecutors, Manafort’s attorneys and the judge met for several sidebars throughout the day.

    Before court resumed, one of Manafort’s attorneys was seen leaving judge’s chambers. The lawyers and Judge T.S. Ellis III entered the courtroom at about 2:18 p.m., when the judge said, “Let me have one of you please from each side.” Prosecutor Greg Andres and Manafort attorney Kevin Downing spoke with the judge at the front of the courtroom before they returned to their tables.

    “All right Mr. Andres, you can call your next witness,” Ellis said returning to the bench without any discussion of what the side conferences were about.

    “The jury, your honor?” Andres asked, sparking laughter in the courtroom before the jury filed in to take their seats.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  12. #72

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 9 Part 2

    3:18 p.m.: Manafort quickly got $16 million in loans from bank whose CEO wanted job in Trump administration


    At the start of his testimony, Federal Savings Bank Senior Vice President Dennis Raico described how Paul Manafort won quick approval for loans as part of a process that featured unusual involvement from the bank’s chief exectuive and chairman, Steve Calk. Calk was seeking a role in the Trump administration and seemed to make that known to Manafort, Raico testified.

    Manafort ultimately received two loans from the bank totaling $16 million. One of them, a $9.5 million cash-out refinance on a property in Southampton, N.Y., closed on Nov. 16, 2016, shortly after the presidential election. The other, a $6.5 million construction takeout loan, closed on Jan. 4, 2017, Raico testified.

    Raico testified that Manafort first contacted the bank around April 2016, inquiring about a loan for a project that he and his son-in-law were working on. Raico said he contacted Calk about Manafort’s seeking the loans after learning that Manafort was involved in politics.

    “I came to learn that Mr. Manafort was involved in politics, and I knew Steve was interested in politics,” he said. Raico said Calk wanted to meet the potential client in person.

    Raico said Manafort, Calk and he, as well as others, had dinner at the Capital Grille in New York in May 2016, where they discussed “politics, loans” and other subjects. Calk and Manafort, then part of the Trump campaign, also talked between themselves at the dinner, Raico said.

    Raico said on July 27 of that year, he had a video conference with Manafort and Manafort’s son-in-law to discuss properties they wanted to finance. The very next day, high-level bank officials approved a loan to the two men – a turnaround quicker than Raico said he had ever seen before.

    Calk was directly involved in the negotiations for both loans, something Raico also had never seen before. Raico said he sometimes passed messages between Calk and Manafort, which made him uncomfortable.

    On Nov. 11, 2016, for example, Raico said Calk called him to say he would “possibly be up for some role in the Trump administration,” and asked Raico if he could inquire about that. The possible roles, Raico said, were Treasury secretary or Housing and Urban Development secretary. Emails show that a few months earlier, Manafort had asked for Calk’s resumé after Calk apparently asked if he could serve in the administration.

    Raico said in that instance he ultimately did not ask Manafort about the matter.

    “It made me very uncomfortable,” he said.



    3:37 p.m.: Manafort, seeking loans, told bank Gates had bought more than $200,000 in New York Yankees tickets

    Federal Savings Bank Senior Vice President Dennis Raico described an email he had received from his assistant, who detailed a phone call she had with Manafort. In the conversation she summarized in her email, Manafort explained that the income for his business DMP International had recently increased.

    “He explained to me that he is in the consulting business and naturally the income fluctuates,” the email to Raico from his assistant read.

    But Raico expressed some skepticism.

    “A plus B didn’t equal C all the time,” Raico testified to the financial information the bank would get from Manafort.

    [Read the search warrant application for Paul Manafort’s condominium]

    Manafort also told Raico’s assistant that more than $200,000 in charges on his American Express was because he lent his “friend” the card.

    Raico testified that he understood the friend described to be Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates, who purchased New York Yankees season tickets.

    Andres then showed an American Express Plum card statement showing three different charges for New York Yankees tickets in Feb. 2016 — two charges for $99,000 and one for $10,000. The Plum card is an American Express card used by businesses.

    The large charge to the credit card is important because the outstanding debt would have impacted Manafort’s ability to secure a loan with the bank, Raico testified.

    Raico said sometime during the loan process, he learned that Calk and Manafort had lunch together. After the lunch, Raico said he received an email from Calk, outlining terms for one of Manafort’s loan requests.


    4:01 p.m.: ‘Take a deep breath’: Banker says Manafort took unusual path to $9.5 million loan

    A former senior vice president at Federal Savings Bank testified that the process that led Paul Manafort to get a $9.5 million loan from the bank was unlike any other loan negotiation he worked on.

    First, Dennis Raico said, as they were close to closing, Manafort emailed and said that he actually owed $3.5 million on his Bridgehampton home when he said it was $2.5 million. The bank had just learned that information on its own.

    “I must have had a blackout,” Manafort said.

    “I can pay this debt if required in about 6 months, although I would prefer not to do so,” Manafort wrote in the Oct. 6, 2016, message to bank chairman Steve Calk. “I look to your cleverness in how to manage the underwriting.”

    Calk told Manafort he would “look into this right away” and forwarded the message to Raico.

    Then about a week later, on Oct. 14, Raico said he got a call informing him that from the closing table, Manafort had decided he wanted to renegotiate the terms of the loan. Instead of a construction loan for a project in California using the Bridgehampton home as collateral, he wanted a cash-out refinance loan on the Hamptons house.

    A few days later, Manafort sent Raico a sheet titled “Terms of Loan,” outlining the $9.5 million line of credit.

    Raico said he had “never it seen it done before” that a potential client would set terms that way. He forwarded the terms to Federal Savings Bank Vice President James Brennan, with the message, “Take a deep breath.”

    “I hadn’t seen a loan restructured at the closing table before, and I hadn’t seen Steve Calk approve restructuring of a loan,” Raico testified.


    Judge Ellis, who has intervened to deflate prosecutors throughout the trial, did so again here. “Is there anything wrong with that?” he asked of Manafort setting his own terms.

    “No,” Raico said, but “it’s not consistent” with bank policy.

    “But is there anything wrong with it?” the judge asked again, before telling prosecutor Greg Andres he was trying to “focus the evidence.”

    The process moved forward, and Raico testified Manafort sent him a statement showing his profit for 2016 so far was over $3 million. (That statement is false, Manafort’s former business partner Rick Gates has testified.)

    Even with the revised income, bank president Javier Ubarri told Raico and Brennan they should not pursue the loan agreement.

    He told Raico to tell Manafort the bank values his relationship with Calk “immensely” but that the loan forced the bank to assume too much risk and had taken up too much of the bank’s time already.

    But Raico testified he soon got a call from Calk, saying they were moving forward with the loan, which ultimately went through on Manafort’s terms on Nov. 16, 2016


    4:26 p.m.: Manafort’s lawyers note he had collateral for $16 million in loans

    In his cross examination of Dennis Raico, defense attorney Richard Westling sought to highlight how Paul Manafort put up adequate collateral for the loans he received from Federal Savings Bank, and how early trouble that he encountered in getting financing was largely attributable to his son-in-law.

    Westling started by asking about an email that seemed key to the prosecutors’ presentation. The email showed the bank’s president, Javier Ubarri, had suggested ending negotiations with Manafort and trying to part ways on friendly terms. Raico had testified previously the bank gave Manafort loans after that message was sent.

    Westling asked Raico: Wasn’t that message in reference to one particular loan, which Manafort would have been taking on with his son-in-law? After reading it, Raico testified it was, and that the bank did not ultimately issue it.

    Westling then sought to show that the loans Manafort did receive had adequate collateral – attempting to undercut the notion that Federal Savings Bank was defrauded. For the $9.5 million loan on Manafort’s Bridgehampton property, Westling asked, wasn’t it true that the cash Manafort received would pay off the home – which was appraised at around $13 million — and that he was offering an additional $2.5 million in collateral through a Virginia property?

    Raico testified that was true: Essentially Manafort was providing $15.5 million in collateral for a $9.5 million loan. And under Westling’s questioning, Raico acknowledged the second loan Manafort received, to complete construction on a property on Union Street in New York, had a similar situation.


    Manafort, he acknowledged, had put down a $2.5 million cash deposit on top of a property that was appraised to sell at $6.3 million when it was complete. The bank, he said, had loaned Manafort $6.5 million.

    Prosecutors, in their final round of questioning of Raico, pointed again to bank chairman Steve Calk’s involvement in the loan, and again got Raico to acknowledge it made him uncomfortable.

    “It was not the norm,” he said.

    When prosecutor Greg Andres – and Judge T.S. Ellis III – pressed Raico on whether he believed Calk was “seeking something” from Manafort, Raico ultimately hedged, saying he could point to “nothing concrete.”
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  13. #73

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 9 Part 3

    5:39 p.m.: Manafort, a Yankees season ticket holder, told bank that Gates bought the tickets in 2016


    Irfan Kirimca, senior director of the New York Yankees, testified briefly after former Federal Savings Bank employee Dennis Raico.

    Kirimca testified that Manafort had been a Yankees season ticket holder between 2010 to 2017. Manafort also exchanged emails with Yankees employees directing them to mail his 2016 season tickets to one of his New York addresses and confirmed that he and his wife would be at Opening Day.

    Kirimca’s testimony is important because it links to the $16 million in loans Manafort received from Federal Savings Bank. During the loan processes, bank officials flagged the hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt on Manafort’s American Express credit card. The outstanding debt would make it more unlikely that the bank would offer a loan, and prosecutors have accused Manafort of falsifying his financial information –including information about the American Express charges– to secure the cash.

    After Federal Savings Bank employees emailed Manafort to inquire about the American Express debt, Manafort told them that he loaned the card Rick Gates who purchased Yankees season tickets.

    No correspondence with the Yankees indicated Gates would pay for the tickets or had them shipped to his home, Kirimca testified. He also testified that the Yankees don’t have any records showing Gates ever being a season ticket holder, information that undermines Manafort’s representation to the bank about the charges.

    Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack introduced an email between Manafort a Yankees employee confirming renewal of his season tickets — $700 per seat at a total of $226,800. Manafort said he wanted to renew and informed the Yankees they would receive a wire transfer of $226,800 from Global Highway Limited.

    On cross examination, Manafort attorney Richard Westling asked whether it was common for people to purchase season tickets for business purposes or to entertain clients and Kirimca said it was, before finishing his testimony.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  14. #74

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Day 9 Part 4

    5:50 p.m.: Manafort prosecutors say they will rest case Monday, defense gives no hints of its case


    The prosecution’s final witness of the week was Andrew Chojnowski, chief operating officer for home lending at Federal Savings Bank.

    Chojnowski testified briefly that when getting loans from the bank that added up to $16 million, Manafort signed documents saying he had disclosed all outstanding debts and that he understood it was illegal to make false statements during the application process.

    Ellis dismissed jurors until 1 p.m. Monday, warning them once again not to do any research. “Don’t look it up on Google or anywhere else,” he said. “Put it completely out of your mind until Monday; that’s what I plan to do.”

    The special counsel’s office said their final witness will be Jim Brennan, another Federal Savings Bank employee who has been compelled to testify under immunity from prosecution. But prosecutors may recall Paula Liss, a special agent with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Treasury Department, depending on whether Ellis rules that they can ask her further questions about the filing of foreign bank records.

    Rather than have an agent testify to more emails and documents, prosecutor Greg Andres said he planned to use that evidence in his closing argument, which he expects to take about two hours.

    “That’s within the outer universe of reasonable,” Ellis said. But, he added, “It’s no accident that television programs are half an hour. If you think you can hold a juror’s attention for two hours, you live on a different planet than I do.”

    Defense attorneys said they also thought they would need two hours for their closing argument.

    Ellis gave in, although he urged both sides to consider brevity. “Most jurors don’t punish lawyers for being prolix,” he said. “But they aren’t very happy about it.”

    Manafort’s attorneys gave no indication of whether they plan to offer any evidence in his defense. Ellis said he will hold a conference on jury instructions after the evidence and before closing arguments.


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.9b3153ad2e42
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  15. #75

    Re: The Manafort Trial

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post

    From the Post archives: From Left: Man that brags about strangling kittens with their own guts (when he was a kid), man that keeps Mein Kampf on his bedside table, and quadruple spy for the CIA, KGB, MOSSAD and Stassi, working hard to become a mole in MI6 (Can't fake the accent yet). (Harry Naltchayan/The Washington Post)
    The real caption
    Starry starry night

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