- 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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