Mueller seeks immunity for 5 witnesses set to testify against Manafort

Mueller seeking immunity for five witnesses in Paul Manafort trial	 	 	 			Paul Manafort and Robert Mueller

A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday declined a request by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to suppress evidence seized from his Virginia condominium past year as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

Mueller says the witnesses haven't been publicly identified in the case, and haven't been charged.

Mr Manafort's trial in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is due to begin on July 25, where he faces charges of bank and tax fraud. "Such concern potentially would be heightened by the additional revelation that they have invoked their privilege against self-incrimination and may be granted immunity from the use against them of any compelled testimony".

The trial is one of two at which Manafort must defend himself against a number of charges ranging from bank fraud to failing to register as a foreign agent for lobbying work for pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.

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 lawyers argued that extensive pretrial media coverage in Washington had interfered with Manafort's right to a fair trial and the Alexandria jury pool would be drawn from a population that voted heavily in favor of Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The judge also said that "jurors' political leanings are not, by themselves, evidence that those jurors can not fairly and impartially consider the evidence presented and apply the law as instructed by the Court".

But Ellis rejected that argument Tuesday, saying media attention in the case would be the same in Alexandria "as it would be in Roanoke or Kansas City or Dallas".

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