Mueller seeks immunity for 5 witnesses in Manafort case

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 18, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller is asking a federal court to provide immunity for five unidentified witnesses slated to testify against former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort at his financial crimes trial beginning next week.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III disagreed with Manafort's attorneys, saying there was no reason to believe Manafort would not get a fair trial in Alexandria.

Immunity would relieve them of the need of Fifth Amendment protections, so the witnesses could then be forced to testify. Motions providing more information about them were filed under seal, and prosecutors asked a judge to leave the information that way unless and until the witnesses are called to testify.

Manafort's prosecution arose out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Manafort had requested to move the trial to Roanoke, Va., citing alleged bias in the D.C. area, where his name is well known.

"The mere fact that a case has drawn substantial media attention does not, by itself, warrant a change in venue", Ellis wrote in his ruling.

He said there was no evidence that potential jurors in the region were politically biased, and that in any event, jurors' political leanings by themselves aren't evidence that they can't fairly consider a case.

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