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Judge in Manafort case delays trial, grants immunity to witnesses

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Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort’s trial in
the Eastern District of Virginia has been postponed to July
31.


Drew
Angerer/Getty Images



  • The judge in former Trump campaign chairman Paul
    Manafort’s Virginia trial allowed five witnesses to testify
    with immunity and postponed the trial by a week in a Monday
    ruling.
  • Judge T.S. Ellis III granted a request by Manafort’s
    legal team to delay the start of the trial from July 25 to July
    31 in order to review additional documents provided to them by
    the prosecution.
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is prosecuting
    Manafort on charges of tax and bank fraud.

A federal judge presiding over the first trial of Paul Manafort,
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, ruled Monday
to grant immunity to five testifying witnesses and postpone the trial by almost a
week.

Manafort’s trial was sent to begin July 25 in the Eastern
District of Virginia, but Judge T.S. Ellis III granted a request
by Manafort’s attorneys to delay the trial to begin on July 31
after the prosecution provided Manafort’s legal team with an
additional 120,000 documents to review beforehand.

The documents come from personal electronic devices belonging to
Rick Gates, Manafort’s long-time business associate. Gates was
charged with several crimes along with Manafort, but chose to
cooperate with the federal government. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian
election interference and the Trump campaign’s possible role in
it, and his legal team are prosecuting Manafort on seventeen criminal charges of tax evasion, tax
fraud, and bank fraud in the Virginia trial.  

In addition, Judge Ellis granted a request by Mueller’s team to
grant immunity from
prosecution for five potential testifying witnesses. They were
identified as Dannis Raico, Cindy Laporta, Conor O’Brien,
Donna Duggan, and James Brennan. The immunity means their
testimony cannot be used against them in any criminal cases,
although none of them have yet been charged with any crime. 

These potential witnesses appear to be current or former
employees at financial institutions mentioned in the indictment
of Manafort, according to CNBC. Manafort will be
prosecuted on charges of knowingly defrauding multiple financial
institutions by falsifying documents to misrepresent his assets
and liabilities. 

Ellis said that despite the delay, jury selection will proceed
this week. Mueller’s team is also set to prosecute Manafort in a
separate criminal trial in the District of Columbia in
September. 

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