Judge reveals identities of 5 witnesses immunized to testify against Manafort

Arturo Kim
July 26, 2018

A US judge said he would rule later on Monday on whether to delay the criminal trial of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and he would make public the identity of five witnesses granted immunity to testify.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis sided with Manafort's team and granted the delay, but it was much shorter than the extension defense lawyers requested.

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 has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied wrongdoing.

"I don't think, to my knowledge, there are any exculpatory pictures in this case", he said.

Manafort, a long-time Republican operative and businessman, is a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, has pleaded not guilty.

Ellis also approved and unsealed motions to compel five witnesses against Manafort to testify at trial.

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"I'm not going to allow this trial to drag on", Ellis said, adding he would not let it turn into political theater.

The charges against Manafort largely pre-date the five months Manafort worked on the Trump team in 2016.

Manafort's lawyers also sought to prevent prosecutors from talking about alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. 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.

Mueller's team, represented by Greg Andres at the hearing, had indicated that the only mention of the Trump campaign would be in the context of those particular loans, which Andres said would take a small part of the trial.

The charges are for activities that, according to the indictment, continued through the time he served as Trump's campaign manager.

"These 120,000 pages are really at the heart of the issue", Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing argued Monday. The Mueller indictment contains an email chain between Laporta and others regarding Manafort's "Int'l Income Question".

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