Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Mueller seeks immunity for 5 witnesses in Manafort case

Mueller seeks immunity for 5 witnesses in Manafort case

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is shown in this booking photo in Alexandria, July 12.

Manafort's attorneys asked that the upcoming trial be moved from Alexandria, Virginia, southwest to Roanoke. They also said the population in the northern Virginia area where the Alexandria jury pool would be drawn from voted heavily in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 presidential election. On Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III rejected the claim by Manafort's lawyers that he could not get a fair trial due to the intense interest in his case in the Washington, D.C. area. It is the first arising from the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is examining potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge to give immunity to five people who may testify at the bank-fraud trial starting next week against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.

Mueller says the witnesses haven't been publicly identified in the case, and haven't been charged. He said the five are likely to invoke their right against self-incrimination if they don't receive immunity.

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Manafort is facing charges including conspiracy to commit money laundering, making false statements and working as an unregistered agent of the government of Ukraine.

Judge Ellis, who is overseeing the Alexandria case, has yet to rule on Manafort's motion to postpone proceedings until after the Washington trial is done.

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"Although there has been extensive press coverage of defendant's pretrial proceedings, that coverage has not disrupted the "judicial serenity and calm" to which the defendant is entitled", Ellis said Tuesday.

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