WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort’s providers didn’t come low-cost. His consulting work helped prop up international strongmen, who in flip stored him in $12,000 bespoke fits from Beverly Hills.
But by 2016, Mr. Manafort was broke. His longtime money cow, the Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych, was out of workplace, dwelling in exile. Mr. Manafort had $1 million in clothes debt alone, his enterprise was hemorrhaging cash and he was angling for financial institution loans to remain afloat.
He was in such dangerous form that one in every of his accountants, Cynthia Laporta, who testified on Friday at Mr. Manafort’s fraud trial, stated she had agreed in 2015 to fraudulently decrease his reported earnings on a tax return as a result of she had been informed he was unable to pay what he owed. She saved him a couple of half-million in taxes.
The issues didn’t go away by 2016, so it was a peculiar time to volunteer his providers to the Trump marketing campaign. “I am not looking for a paid job,” Mr. Manafort wrote in a memo proposing he assist Donald J. Trump safe the Republican nomination for president.
Mr. Manafort’s work working the marketing campaign is the backdrop to his federal financial institution and tax fraud trial in Northern Virginia. Prosecutors should not addressing that work. But as they current proof that he was rising determined for cash, the query of why Mr. Manafort, now 69, agreed to an unpaid job for Mr. Trump has turn out to be more and more tantalizing.
While his trial is unlikely to disclose the reply, there’s proof that Mr. Manafort noticed Mr. Trump’s marketing campaign as a possible loss chief — an upfront freebie that he might use to spice up his stature and finally parlay into extra work for international shoppers. After working many years earlier for Bob Dole, George Bush, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, Mr. Manafort seen the Trump marketing campaign as an opportunity to return to prominence on the most important stage in American politics, his associates stated.
Mr. Manafort’s memo made its approach to Mr. Trump by a mutual friend, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., who described Mr. Manafort to the candidate as “the most experienced and lethal of managers” and “a killer.” For the notoriously stingy Mr. Trump, the value was proper. And he preferred the truth that he and Mr. Manafort lived in the identical Trump-owned Manhattan excessive rise. He as soon as quipped that it was nice to have a marketing campaign chairman who paid him cash, and never the opposite manner round, marketing campaign officers stated.
Running a profitable presidential marketing campaign is a surefire path to a White House job. But Mr. Manafort informed individuals he had no curiosity in working in the Trump administration. “My dad is Trump’s right-hand man right now and will be through November,” Mr. Manafort’s daughter, Andrea Manafort Shand, wrote in a text message that was publicly disclosed after her telephone had been hacked. “But he won’t accept any position in the White House.”
But Mr. Manafort acknowledged that his work with the Trump marketing campaign was value one thing. In April 2016, simply days after changing into a Trump marketing campaign strategist, he tried to make use of his optimistic information media protection as leverage in a debt dispute with a Russian oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska.
“I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Mr. Manafort wrote in an electronic mail to a enterprise accomplice.
“Absolutely,” the accomplice, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, responded. “Every article.”
Later, Mr. Manafort advised offering marketing campaign briefings to Mr. Deripaska. No proof has emerged that such briefings occurred.
As Mr. Manafort ascended to one of many premier jobs in American politics, prosecutors now say, his profession was privately in shambles. In early 2016, his accountant testified, he labored to mortgage a few of his seven or eight houses. Prosecutors stated he had turn out to be accustomed to a lavish way of life and was preoccupied with clinging to it.
At the helm of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, Mr. Manafort knew from expertise that he was properly positioned to bounce again. In the early 1980s, Mr. Manafort used his expertise as a midlevel marketing campaign aide for Reagan to construct the pre-eminent lobbying and consulting shop of Reagan-era Washington. He helped main companies dealer entry to the president’s inside circle — and he was paid handsomely for his providers.
A Trump victory would have positioned him for a triumphant and profitable return to Washington lobbying.
At the F.B.I., brokers started to wonder if Mr. Manafort had one thing else in the works. In late July 2016, brokers discovered that Russian operatives had provided assist to a Trump marketing campaign aide, George Papadopoulos. A second marketing campaign adviser, Carter Page, traveled that month to Russia and met with a suspected Russian intelligence officer.
The F.B.I. started investigating whether or not Mr. Manafort, together with his deep ties to the pro-Russia political motion in Ukraine, was concerned in the Russian operation to intrude in the election. The Justice Department by no means introduced costs accusing him of any involvement, however the investigation helped unravel no matter profession plans Mr. Manafort plotted for himself.
The information media consideration that he as soon as noticed as so precious in the end helped knock him from his highly effective publish. Journalists revealed confidential particulars about his work in Ukraine, together with a ledger showing millions of dollars in secret payments — revelations that pressured his departure in August 2016.
Prosecutors, who had scrutinized Mr. Manafort’s international lobbying for years, started investigating that space in earnest. By the time Mr. Trump was sworn into workplace, Mr. Manafort was beneath scrutiny in a minimum of two investigations. If convicted of the fees in opposition to him, he faces years in jail and hundreds of thousands of in fines.
Mr. Manafort’s attorneys say he virtually definitely wouldn’t have confronted costs if not for his transient, unpaid stint with the Trump marketing campaign.
Matt Apuzzo and Eileen Sullivan reported from Washington, and Sharon LaFraniere from Alexandria, Va. Nicholas Confessore and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Glenn Thrush from Washington.