Judge forces Mueller to reveal identities of 5 witnesses offered immunity

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Paul Manafort took a bit of a hit after a Reagan-appointed judge ordered the names of five witnesses who received immunity.

On Monday, Federal Judge T.S. Ellis forced the reveal of five key witnesses that are set to testify against Manafort. Ellis also delayed the trial that was set for Wednesday until July 31st.

The Washington Post reported:

Defense attorneys, meanwhile, pledged that they would not argue Manafort was “selectively and vindictively” prosecuted. But they said they would like to reserve the ability to question the motives of the special counsel.

“This court has commented in open court and in filings on the motives of the prosecution,” defense attorney Thomas Zehnle said. Ellis has repeatedly said that he believes Manafort is being prosecuted only in hopes that he will offer information on Trump.

Ellis also approved and unsealed motions to compel five government witnesses to testify: James Brennan, Conor O’Brien, Donna Duggan, Cindy Laporta and Dennis Raico. Laporta’s accounting firm confirmed that Manafort was once a client and that current or former employees may testify.

 

Manafort was swept up in Mueller’s Russia probe and is now facing charges for bank and tax fraud. His trial was originally set to begin on Wednesday but was delayed when defense attorneys argued they needed more time to review “a large number of documents involved,” WaPo reported.

 

Last week, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson broke the story that power-lobbyist Tony Podesta was being granted immunity by Mueller. That report hasn’t been debunked, but there was no mention of Podesta with the release of the names of the five witnesses on Monday.

Carlson reported that his sources maintain Podesta is receiving immunity, but for a different trial:

Meanwhile, prosecutor Greg Andres said of the VA trial: “I don’t anticipate the word ‘Russia’ will be uttered by a government witness.”

But Andres maintained that Manafort’s role in the campaign was essential to one bank fraud count, because a lender “went along with the fraud so he could get a job,” according to WaPo.

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