Judge reveals identities of 5 witnesses immunized to testify against Manafort

Judge reveals identities of 5 witnesses immunized to testify against Manafort

Judge reveals identities of 5 witnesses immunized to testify against Manafort

A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, is expected to rule Monday on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's request to delay his criminal trial, slated to start this week.

Lawyers sought the delay for Manafort, a long-time Republican operative and businessman who is a target of Special Counsel Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 US election.

Mueller's team has four "phones or iPads" and one laptop belonging to Gates, who pleaded guilty earlier this year and has been cooperating with the investigation.

If Ellis turns down Manafort's request to continue the trial, jury selection is slated to begin Wednesday.

With a July 31 start date, Manafort's trial is coincidentally set to begin on the second anniversary of the FBI's investigation into ties between Donald Trump's campaign, which Manafort once ran, and Russian Federation. The Kremlin denies election interference and Trump denies collusion.


Ellis delayed a hearing on motions to shape the evidence at trial until later Monday afternoon.

Manafort faces a second criminal trial in Washington in September on related charges, including witness tampering, in connection with lobbying work he performed for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government.

Defense lawyers argued that they need additional time to review more than 120,000 pages of documents recently provided by the government.

Manafort would like Ellis, the judge, to ask jurors where they get their news, the extent of their involvement in politics and whether they voted in the 2016 election. Ellis made it clear that he generally believes that prosecutors' motives are not relevant at trial, but said Manafort's lawyers could approach him during the trial, to make the argument in its "then-living color" as it comes up.

The indictment says Manafort and business associate Rick Gates passed money they received from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to hide it from the Internal Revenue Service. Manafort's defense lawyer Kevin Downing complained on Monday his team did not have enough time to review the records, which contain about 20,000 documents, including accounting records from Manafort's bookkeeping company.

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