Judge Decides to Keep Manafort Transcripts Under Seal

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge granted a request by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort which would leave court transcripts under seal while he reviews them with his attorneys.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the order Tuesday.

Prosecutors attempted to unseal court transcripts from hearings held in January and February at the federal court in Washington, D.C. The hearings were open to the public, but during bench conferences with attorneys and other sidebars, a static block was used to obscure the conversation from others in the room.

Though the government has argued the need to unseal sidebar and bench conversations has since “been mooted,” Manafort requested on Mar. 9 that the documents stay secret until he and his team conducted thorough review of them.

Manafort faces prosecution in Washington on charges of conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, lying to federal agents and failing to register as a foreign agent, all stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in the 2016 election.

None of the charges lodged against Manafort related directly to the alleged Russian activities to influence the outcome of the election.

Manafort also faces charges of bank and tax fraud in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Manafort has plead not guilty to all of the charges. His trial in Virginia starts July 10; his trial in Washington begins September 17.

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