Mueller Seeks Immunity for 5 Manafort Witnesses

Former Trump campaign chairman's trial expected to start next week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2018 12:35 AM CDT
Mueller Seeks Immunity for 5 Manafort Witnesses
In this March 8, 2018 photo, Paul Manafort, left, President Trump's former campaign chairman, walks with this wife Kathleen Manafort, as they arrive at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, Va.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The special counsel in the Russia investigation is seeking immunity for five potential witnesses in the upcoming trial of President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The five individuals have indicated that they won't testify or provide other information "on the basis of their privilege against self-incrimination," special counsel Robert Mueller's office told a federal judge in Virginia in a court filing Tuesday. As a result, prosecutors are asking a judge to compel their testimony, under a condition of immunity, at Manafort's upcoming bank and tax fraud trial, the AP reports. They are requesting what is known as "use immunity," which would mean prosecutors could not use the witnesses' testimony against them unless they were to make false statements.

Prosecutors did not name the potential witnesses, who have not been charged, because they have not been publicly identified as being involved in the case. The Manafort trial, the first arising from Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, is expected to start next week. Also Tuesday, US District Judge TS Ellis III denied Manafort's request to move the trial from Alexandria, in the Washington, DC, region, to the more sparsely populated Virginia city of Roanoke. Manafort's lawyers said extensive pretrial media coverage in the region had interfered with Manafort's right to a fair trial, and that the jury would be drawn from a heavily Democratic population. (Manafort has reportedly said he's being "treated like a VIP" in a Virginia jail.)

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