Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Judge grants five witnesses limited immunity in Manafort trial

Paul Manafort Modal Trigger Getty Images
Ellis Copeland | 26 July, 2018, 20:28

The trial had been scheduled to start on July 25 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ellis said he had conferred with prosecutors and agreed to compel five anonymous witnesses to testify at the trial, and Mueller's office has agreed to grant them immunity from prosecution.

A large portion of Monday's hearing, which will reconvene at 2 p.m. ET, has been dedicated to discussing a "data dump" of tens of thousands of pages of documents over the past month by the government.

Manafort, a longtime Republican operative and businessman, appeared in court for the hearing in a green prison jumpsuit.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied wrongdoing.

Among the records turned over earlier in July included 20,000 accounting records from Manafort's bookkeeping company, as well as voluminous images taken off electronic devices belonging to Gates, Manafort's former business partner.

"We're not going to get into how people voted. of course people can be fair no matter who they voted for", Ellis said.

Trump accuses China of using 'vicious' trade tactics
The president said he was fighting to get America a better deal after decades of being taken advantage of by trading partners. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, he called his critics "weak" and said: "Negotiations are going really well, be cool".


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It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for lawmakers to demand documents that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Rosenstein has overseen the special counsel's probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself .


"The fact that you're not using something does not mean it's not usable by the defense", Ellis responded. "He did", prosecutor Greg Andres replied.

Manafort joined the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump in March 2016 and served as the campaign manager from June to August that year. The Kremlin denies election interference and Trump denies collusion. Prosecutors said they never planned to bring this up.

"These 120,000 pages are really at the heart of the issue", Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing argued Monday.

Mueller charged Manafort in two separate lawsuits (in October and February), saying he hid from authorities millions of dollars in payments from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, dodging taxes in the process.

Ellis has questioned Mueller's probe and said Manafort's indictment appeared aimed at leveraging him to provide information on Trump.

"Evidence of Manafort's significant work for Ukraine is necessary to establish the source of Manafort's money and quantify the corresponding amount of income earned", Asonye wrote. Ellis said his family's story taught him that many Americans have "antipathy" toward Russian Federation and might not even know the difference between Russian Federation and Ukraine.

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