Judge T.S. Ellis may be an irascible crank who calls himself "Caesar in my own Rome," but he sure knows how to keep a trial moving! With His Honor shouting "FOCUS SHARPLY" every 10 minutes, Paul Manafort's tax fuckery trial has been galloping along at a clip. Prosecutors are on-track to finish presenting evidence on Friday. Then, God willing and the creek don't rise, the jury will send that sorry sumbitch to jail to await his next trial in September. And we can stop thinking about his ridiculous ostrich jacket and his moronic PDFs and his tacky karaoke system for like two whole weeks. Gonna be sweeeeet!

But for now, let's try to wrap our heads around the argument Manafort's lawyer Kevin Downing started off with yesterday. See, when Paul Manafort was approached by the FBI in 2014, he said, Yes, Mr. Law Man, I did used to have some offshore accounts in Cyprus, but they're closed now. (Technically true, since he'd transferred his accounts to the Grenadines and put them under Konstantin Kilimnik's name.) Henceforth, ergo, propter hoc, Downing argued, it was just A ACCIDENT that he forgot to mention them to the IRS on his tax returns all those times.



The defense attorney pointed to about $3 million in transactions, from 2010 to 2014, that he has suggested represent money Gates embezzled from Manafort. He noted an extramarital affair that Gates admitted to Tuesday. Then he asked: Did Gates recall telling the special counsel's office "that you actually engaged in four extramarital affairs?"

The prosecutors immediately objected, and, after a lengthy bench conference, Downing just asked whether the money embezzled went to fund his SECRET LIFE. Which, Gates agreed, it did. Subtle, dude.

But once Gates finished getting kicked in the nuts by Manafort's lawyers, everything settled down like a normal tax fraud trial. Which is to say, it was BOOOOOOORING. Morgan Magionos, an FBI forensic accountant, walked the jury through two hours of charts and graphs showing how a little Ukrainian hryvnia makes its way from an oligarch's pocket to an account in Cyprus where it becomes a dollar. Then a grifty election fucker summons it via email, and the dollar makes the long journey to America and becomes ... whatever this is.

Seriously, what the hell is this?

Magionos highlighted the discrepancy between the $60 million Manafort was paid for his work in Ukraine and the $30 million he reported on his income tax returns. She was followed on the witness stand by IRS agent Michael Welch, who testified that Manafort failed to report at least $15 million of income, and that's taking at face value all his extremely creative "business expenses."

Welch said he also looked at the income that was never brought into the United States. He said he was "conservative" in what he allowed as possible business expenses — including 132,000 euros to a yacht company, $49,000 for an Italian villa rental, $45,000 for cosmetic dentistry and $19,800 for a riding academy — because he heard "no testimony" explaining their purpose.

But Kevin Downing was ready with a response to that one. And it was RICK GATES IS A LYING THIEVER WITH A WANDERING PEEN!

Under cross-examination, Kevin Downing raised questions about an "embezzlement deduction" Manafort might have been able to take or whether he might have been able to spread out reported income as a way to explain discrepancies. Welch testified those would be possibilities, but at the end of the day, it doesn't change his assessment that Manafort filed false tax returns and failed to report income.

And, Welch said, if one wanted to take an "embezzlement deduction" one would have to report the income to start with to even qualify.

Embezzlement deduction?!?!?!

Done! We are done with this grifty fucker and his bullshit defense. GO TO JAIL, PAUL MANAFORT. GO TO JAIL FOREVER.

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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