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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

One of Paul Manafort's accountants admitted Friday she may have committed a crime by filing tax returns for him that she thought contained false information, Politico reports.

Why it matters: The information Cindy Laporta was suspicious about on the tax returns is related to the former Trump campaign chairman’s international consulting business. Laporta is the first witness who has immunity to testify in the trial — and her testimony could be critical to the effort to prosecute Manafort on charges of tax and bank fraud.

What made her suspicious:

  • She doubted that $2.4 million worth of funds Manafort said he received as a loan from international businesses was actually a loan. The funds were coming from Manafort’s customers, which she found suspect.
  • Laporta also said Rick Gates, Manafort’s associate who pleaded guilty in a related case this year, told her in 2015 to reduce Manafort’s income by not counting a loan, which she did. She said she found the move “not appropriate,” adding that “we can’t pick and choose what’s a loan and [what's] income.”
  • When Laporta asked for documentation of the loans, she did not receive the usual extensive documentation in a stack of papers with fine print terms, and instead received one or two pages. She said she found that unusual.
  • She also revealed it was Manafort's own signature on the loan documents, not Gates', which is important since Manafort's defense has been trying to peg Gates as the interlocutor in the financial wrongdoing, per The Washington Post.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

14 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

16 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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