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Mueller seeking immunity for five witnesses

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.

Posted: Jul 18, 2018 4:50 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2018 4:50 PM

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge are hashing out the final details of Paul Manafort's trial with just eight days to go before it begins -- including whether five witnesses will be forced to testify and if the schedule will change.

The former Trump campaign chairman's jury trial in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia begins July 25. He faces 18 charges of bank fraud and foreign bank account allegations. If found guilty he could face a sentence of more than 300 years in prison. He is currently in jail in Alexandria, Virginia, for alleged witness tampering, after losing his bail in a separate criminal proceeding.

Witness immunity

Special counsel Robert Mueller asked the judge on Tuesday to sign off on immunity for five unidentified witnesses slated to testify against Manafort beginning next week.

If granted, that means the witnesses' testimony couldn't be used against them in later court cases.

Mueller is not disclosing the names of the witnesses at this time so as not to create "risk of undue harassment" and because the details "could lead to reputational harm," according to a proposal from the prosecutors.

In theory, the move to grant the witnesses immunity prevents them from invoking their Fifth Amendment rights and staying silent on certain questions when testifying against Manafort.

Mueller says the witnesses haven't been publicly identified in the case. Nor have they been charged, Mueller's office said.

Staying in place

The proceedings won't be moved to Roanoke, Judge T.S. Ellis said, after Manafort and his lawyers requested that the trial be shipped out of Alexandria to the southwestern Virginia city.

Manafort had argued he couldn't have a fair trial in Alexandria because it's in the Washington area. He specifically feared the area's anti-Trump political leanings and intensive media climate. People around Roanoke, he argued, would have followed his situation less closely and would be less politically charged against him.

But Ellis said that wouldn't be the case once a jury was selected. The attorneys and the judge will have the chance to root out any potential jurors' biases in Alexandria during jury selection next week. Manafort's 12-person jury, plus alternates, will draw from the nearly 3 million people living across Northern Virginia, including areas with more conservative voters.

"Nationwide press coverage of defendant's trial will persist from now until the end of trial and perhaps beyond. Therefore, the proximity of defendant's pretrial publicity to the start of his trial will be the same in Alexandria as it would be in Roanoke or Kansas City or Dallas," Ellis wrote in an order denying Manafort's request to move the trial.

Ellis also wrote that the political leanings of an area shouldn't factor into a trial's location. "It would be inappropriate for courts to move trials around the country in cases of this sort until a district could be found where a defendant's political views were shared by at least as many persons in the district as those with contrary views."

Manafort has also asked to postpone the trial until the fall or later. Ellis has not yet made a decision on that.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294994

Reported Deaths: 6681
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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