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Judge delays Manafort trial and grants immunity to five witnesses

Paul Manafort, Kathleen Manafort
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives with his wife, Kathleen Manafort, at court in Alexandria, Va., on March 8.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

A federal judge in Alexandria, Va., approved special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s request on Monday to grant immunity to five witnesses set to testify in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III also moved the start of the trial from Wednesday to July 31, according to the office of the special counsel.

Ellis ruled that Mueller’s prosecutors must inform the defense team about nearly 30 witnesses that Mueller intends to bring to trial.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy.

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The grant of immunity means that the witnesses can answer questions at the trial without fear that their testimony could incriminate them. The five witnesses who would receive immunity were identified as Donna Duggan, Conor O’Brien, Cindy Laporta, Dennis Raico and James Brennan.

Earlier this month, Ellis rejected the Manafort team’s request to relocate the trial to Roanoke, Va., dismissing arguments that the shift away from the Washington, D.C., area was necessary for a fair trial.

The trial in Alexandria is the first of two that Manafort faces this year. In September, he is set to appear in federal court in Washington on charges that include acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.

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@ElizaFawcett


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