Judge agrees five Manafort trial witnesses may testify with immunity

Geneva Stokes
July 26, 2018

A banker who lent Paul Manafort $16 million - after serving on Trump's campaign and while seeking a job in the incoming Trump administration - knew that the loan was fraudulent, a prosecutor for special counsel Robert Mueller's team told a federal judge Monday.

The federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, scheduled a hearing to consider his lawyers' request to delay his trial for several months.

Numerous documents came from devices owned by Rick Gates, Manafort's longtime partner who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Also on Monday afternoon, Judge Ellis agreed to the request by Mueller's office for "use immunity" for five different witnesses, all of whom had said they would take the Fifth Amendment if called to testify in Manafort's trial.

They are Dennis Raico, Cindy Laporta, Conor O'Brien, Donna Duggan, James Brennan, according to Reuters.

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The initial phase of jury selection is still set to get underway this week in Alexandria, just outside Washington, D.C., but Manafort's trial itself now isn't scheduled to begin until next week, on July 31.

Ellis also said the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller must provide a list of about 30 witnesses to lawyers for Manafort, who is a target of Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 USA election.

The Manafort trial, the first arising from Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, is expected to start at the end of the month. "He did", prosecutor Greg Andres replied.

"I don't think, to my knowledge, there are any exculpatory pictures in this case", he said. He was also accused that he is not registered as a foreign agent, while engaged in lobbying in the United States Pro-Kremlin government of Ukraine of former President Viktor Yanukovych. "You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever".

Mueller's team has outlined an extensive list of evidence to present at the Virginia trial, submitting a 21-page list detailing more than 400 exhibits that include scores of bank records, emails and photographs, among other documents.

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