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Mueller's prosecutors: Manafort 'lied' to hide millions, then lied again to keep cash flowing

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Mueller's prosecutors: Manafort 'lied' to hide millions, then lied again to keep cash flowing

Image: Paul Manafort exits the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in W
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Paul Manafort "is not above the law," government prosecutors said Wednesday as closing arguments began in the federal fraud trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.

"Mr. Manafort lied when he had money and lied to get more money when he didn't," Prosecutor Greg Andres told the jury during the opening of his closing argument.

Andres, part of special counsel Robert Mueller's legal team, went on to argue that Manafort perpetrated two schemes: Keeping income in offshore accounts to hide it from the U.S. government and lying on bank applications to get loans that he couldn't qualify for.

Manafort is accused of failing to report millions of dollars that he was paid for political consulting work in Ukraine, before he briefly served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016, and then lying to obtain loans that would keep his cash flow going. The charges do not involve Manafort's time with Trump.

Judge T.S. Ellis, who has clashed with the prosecution, gave each side two hours to make their closing arguments to the jury.

Manafort entered the courtroom on Wednesday with a smile and wearing a navy suit. His wife, Kathleen, sat directly behind him in the first row.

Prosecutors allege that between 2010 and 2014, Manafort hid more than $16 million from the IRS to fund a lavish lifestyle. Manafort is facing 18 charges of tax and banking fraud, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Over the course of the 12-day trial in Alexandria, Virginia — the first of two Manafort faces — the prosecution called a variety of witnesses, including accountants, business partners and bank executives, to help make its case that Manafort concealed millions from tax authorities overseas, then lied to potential lenders when he needed more money.

Manafort's defense team has looked to question the strength of the government's evidence and the credibility of its witnesses, particularly its star witness Rick Gates, who was Manafort's former business partner and ex-Trump aide.