Paul Manafort's bookkeeper says former Trump campaign chairman approved 'every penny' of his personal expenses

Paul Manafort's bookkeeper testified Thursday that the former Trump campaign chairman kept her in the dark about the foreign bank accounts he was using to buy millions in luxury items and personal expenses.

But he otherwise approved "every penny" of the personal bills she paid for him, said Heather Washkuhn of the accounting firm NKFSB.

Washkuhn's testimony appeared to undercut an argument by Manafort's defense attorneys that he can't be responsible for financial fraud because he left the details of his spending to others, including his longtime associate Rick Gates. Washkuhn said Gates was only involved in Manafort's business dealings, not his personal expenses.

When it came to personal expenses, Manafort "approved every penny of everything we paid," Washkuhn told jurors.

Manafort faces charges of bank fraud and tax evasion that could put him in jail for the rest of his life. It's the first courtroom test of the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with looking into Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. election and whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Moscow to sway voters.

While the question of collusion remains unanswered, Manafort's financial fraud trial has exposed the lucrative and secret world of foreign lobbying that made Manafort rich.

Related: Paul Manafort’s trial for bank and tax fraud charges

33 PHOTOS
Paul Manafort's trial for bank and tax fraud charges
See Gallery
Paul Manafort's trial for bank and tax fraud charges
After a guilty verdict on the first count, an unidentified man holds a sign outside the U.S. District Courthouse for the fourth day of jury deliberations in former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The 2012-issued passport of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, included in the government's exhibits admitted into evidence during Manafort's trial, is shown in this image released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in Washington, DC, U.S. on August 1, 2018. Image released August 1, 2018. Courtesy Special Counsel's Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: An activist holds a picture of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Jackets included in the government's exhibits admitted into evidence, at the trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, are seen in this combination image of pictures released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in Washington, DC, U.S. on August 1, 2018. Courtesy Special Counsel� Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. UNPROCESSED VERSIONS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: Activists hold signs during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Kathleen Manafort (L), wife of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at U.S. District Court for the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Protesters gather outside the US District Courthouse ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at U.S. District Court for the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Heather Washkuhn, manager of Paul Manafort's personal and business finances, left, walks toward District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. Washkuhn told the jury that she had no knowledge of the offshore companies and bank accounts that prosecutors say helped former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort hide tens of millions in income from the U.S. government. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing arrives at U.S. District Court for the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
The U.S. District Courthouse is seen ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: Members of Manafort's legal team Jay Nanavati, (C), and Richard Westling, (R), wait to enter the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to attend the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort who was arrested last year on financial fraud charges, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The U.S. District Courthouse is seen ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Protesters gather outside the U.S. District Courthouse ahead of Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort arriving for the opening day of his trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
UNITED STATES JULY 31: Media set up microphones in front of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia where President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort stands trial July 31, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES JULY 31: A protester is seen outside of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia where President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort stands trial July 31, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: An activist wears an 'It's Mueller Time' T-shirt as she hits a drum during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES JULY 31: A protester is seen outside of the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia where President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort stands trial July 31, 2018. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: An activist holds a puppet of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse prior to the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: People wait in-line to enter the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to hear the first day of the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Jay Nanavati, co-counsel for former Trump Campaign Manger Paul Manafort, left, and Richard Westling, co-counsel for former Trump Campaign Manger Paul Manafort, right, wait to enter District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. The 18-count Alexandria indictment includes five charges of filing false tax returns, five for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, four bank fraud counts and four counts of failing to file reports of his foreign bank and financial accounts with the U.S. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: Anti Trump and Manafort protesters gather in front of the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse where the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort starts today, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was arrested last year on financial fraud charges. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: A protester stands in front of the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse where the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort starts today, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort was arrested last year on financial fraud charges. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul Manafort's lawyer Thomas Zehnle (C) is surrounded by media as he arrives at the Albert V. Bryan US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia on July 31, 20187, for the opening of the jury selection for the Paul Manafort trial. - Donald Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort on July 31, 2018 becomes the first member of the president's election team to face trial on charges stemming from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 vote. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud related to his lobbying activities on behalf of the former Russian-backed government of Ukraine. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JULY 31: People wait in line to enter the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to attend the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was arrested last year on financial fraud charges, on July 31, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Kathleen Manafort departs from U.S. District Court following the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Defense Attorney Kevin Downing departs from U.S. District Court following the opening day of Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s investigation of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S., July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Heather Washkuhn, managing director of the accounting firm Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse to testify in the Paul Manafort trial August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Jay Nanavati, attorney of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, arrives at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 02: Kevin Downing, attorney of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, outside the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse August 2, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - AUGUST 01: The statue of Justice outside the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse is reflected in a television news camera lens on the second day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial August 1, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has been charged with bank and tax fraud as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Accountant Cindy Laporta arrives to testify on day 5 of the trial against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on 18 charges stemming from bank and tax fraud at US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 6, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Other witnesses testifying this week said Manafort paid them millions from the offshore accounts tied to foreign shell companies for landscaping, expensive clothing and even a Karaoke machine.

When prosecutor Greg Andres read off some of the companies to Manafort's bookkeeper, she said Manafort never told her about them. She said she would have documented them for tax purposes if he had.

The federal judge overseeing the trial has questioned the hundreds of exhibits prosecutors want to submit as evidence of Manafort's lavish spending.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said the money is relevant, but that he doesn't see the need for prosecutors to "gild the lily," especially considering Manafort's lawyers have not disputed that their client spent his money on luxury items.

Manafort's defense attorneys have signaled they will pin blame for any illegal conduct on Gates. He pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to cooperate with the investigation, making him the government's star witness. He is expected to testify at some point in the trial, which could last weeks.

9 PHOTOS
Richard Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort
See Gallery
Richard Gates, business associate of Paul Manafort
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse following a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Richard Gates (C) leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were indicted on charges that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates leaves the Prettyman Federal Courthouse after a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Richard Gates (C) arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner Paul Manafort were indicted on charges that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Court Building for a hearing November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and former business partner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Richard Gates arrives at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse for a hearing December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gates and his former business partner former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both pleaded not guilty Monday to a 12-charge indictment that included money laundering and conspiracy. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Prosecutor Greg Andres argued that documenting Manafort's spending for the jury was important to the case.

"Judge, this is not an effort to prove Mr. Manafort lived lavishly," Andres said. "It's evidence of his income."

The proceedings have caught the attention of President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, he defended his 2016 hiring of Manafort and suggested Manafort was being treated worse than mobster Al Capone.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president indeed felt Manafort had been treated unfairly.

"Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation," Trump tweeted Wednesday. "These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!"

Manafort has a second trial scheduled for September in the District of Columbia. It would address allegations that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukrainian interests and made false statements to the U.S. government.

Prosecutors told Ellis they expect to rest their case next week, noting that they are "ahead of schedule."

Read Full Story