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5 Witnesses in Manafort Case Granted Immunity

Meanwhile, judge postpones trial to next week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 23, 2018 5:03 PM CDT
In this April 4, 2018, file photo, Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge on Monday postponed until next week the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the AP reports. The tax and bank fraud trial had been scheduled to start Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. But US District Judge TS Ellis III pushed the trial back until July 31 to give Manafort's lawyers more time to review thousands of pages of data and documents turned over by special counsel Robert Mueller's office in the last several weeks. The documents come from a firm that handled Manafort's bookkeeping and the electronic devices of Rick Gates, his longtime business associate. Gates pleaded guilty earlier this year and is expected to testify against Manafort. Also Monday, Ellis approved and unsealed requests from Mueller's prosecutors to offer immunity to five witnesses in exchange for their testimony, and ordered Mueller's team to tell Manafort's team all of the almost 30 witnesses it plans to call in the trial.

The immunity offers mean prosecutors will not use the witnesses' statements against them in any criminal case. CNN reports that the five people are James Brennan, Donna Duggan, Conor O'Brien, Cindy Laporta, and Dennis Raico, but court filings do not specify what they will be asked to testify about. Manafort's trial will be the first arising from Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. The indictment against Manafort doesn't focus on his work on the Trump campaign. Instead, it accuses him of funneling the proceeds of Ukrainian political consulting work through offshore accounts and using the funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle. Manafort has pleaded not guilty and denied all the charges. Jury selection begins this week. Manafort faces a separate trial in the District of Columbia, where he was indicted last October.

(Read more Paul Manafort stories.)

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