Judge Denies Manafort's Request To Move VA Trial Out Of Alexandria

Hannah Rogers
July 21, 2018

The latest court documents filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team suggest we're in for some surprises in the trial of Paul Manafort - though Trump's former campaign chairman has been exposing plenty of sensitive information by gabbing on communication devices monitored by prosecutors.

On Tuesday, Mueller's office asked the judge in the Virginia trial to compel five potential witnesses to testify under a condition of immunity. Prosecutors said the witnesses refused to testify or would refuse to answer certain questions if not given the protection.

He is scheduled to go on trial July 25 in the Virginia case.

Also Tuesday, Ellis denied Manafort's request to move the trial from Alexandria, in suburban Washington D.C., to the more sparsely populated southwestern Virginia city of Roanoke.

Manafort faces numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, making false statements and working as an unregistered agent of the government of Ukraine.

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"Disclosing the motions would reveal those individuals' involvement in the investigation and the trial, thereby creating the risk of their undue harassment", prosecutors said.

The lawyers cited extensive pretrial publicity in the case and the fact that potential jurors in Alexandria were more likely to have supported Hillary Clinton than Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Ellis also rejected Manafort's argument that media coverage of his case would be especially harmful around Washington, a major media market where people follow the news closely.

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.

He is now being held in jail in Alexandria. "Jurors' political leanings are not, by themselves, evidence that those jurors can not fairly and impartially consider the evidence", he wrote.

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