Manafort Trial Start Delayed; Witnesses With Immunity Identified


On Monday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed the names of five witnesses who have received immunity in exchange for testimony against former Trump campaign aide Paul Manafort.

Judge T.S. Ellis III was not so accommodating, but he did give Manafort's defense an extra week to review tens of thousands of documents recently turned over by prosecutors. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

They are Dennis Raico, Cindy Laporta, Conor O'Brien, Donna Duggan, James Brennan, according to Reuters.

The trial had been scheduled to start with jury selection July 25.

Hearings will start on Tuesday morning on the questionnaire for prospective jurors in the trial, as Manafort faces bank and tax fraud charges.

"I'm not going let this trial drag on", he said.

Ellis also approved the special counsel's request to offer immunity to five witnesses who are expected to testify at Manafort's trial.

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"There are equities and reasons on both sides", Ellis said Monday, explaining his decision.

Last month, Manafort was jailed after a federal judge revoked his $10 million bail based on new witness tampering charges.

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

The charges are for activities that, according to the indictment, continued through the time he served as Trump's campaign manager. Ellis made it clear that he generally believes that prosecutors' motives are not relevant at trial, but said Manafort's lawyers could approach him during the trial, to make the argument in its "then-living color" as it comes up.

Mueller's team has outlined an extensive list of evidence to present at the Virginia trial, submitting a 21-page list detailing more than 400 exhibits that include scores of bank records, emails and photographs, among other documents.

Manafort's lawyers have sought to exclude some of the exhibits, arguing they are irrelevant and would prejudice the jurors, but Mueller's office said the documents were pertinent.

Manafort is also facing a separate federal prosecution in Washington; his trial there is set to take place later this year.