Manafort Seeks to Delay Virginia Trial Until Fall

Paul Manafort arrives at Federal Court in Washington on June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(CN) – President Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort is seeking a delay in his upcoming trial in Alexandria, Virginia and has asked the court to reschedule it after his September trial in Washington, D.C.

In a filing late Friday, Manafort’s attorney Jay Nanavati with Kostelanetz & Fink said his client is not seeking a delay “for its own sake.”

“This request is to ensure that Mr. Manafort and his attorneys have sufficient time to effectively prepare for trial based upon the circumstances of this case and the related case pending in the District of Columbia,” the 7-page filing says.

Nanavati pointed to the June 15 detention order issued by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., as the reason his client needs more time.

Jackson had revoked Manafort’s pretrial release after a grand jury brought a superseding indictment against him on June 8 for allegedly trying to tamper with the testimony of potential witnesses in the criminal cases against him.

Manafort has since been detained in the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia ahead of two trials, the first of which is slated to begin July 25 in Virginia, with the second to follow in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 17.

According to his attorneys, Manafort spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement to protect his safety, and he is unable to receive electronic communications. An additional complication, Nanavati says, is that his phone calls are restricted to 10 minutes each.

“This unforeseen development has severely impacted the ability of the defense to effectively prepare for the upcoming trial before the Court,” the July 6 motion says.

Manafort is now unable to meet as frequently with his attorneys to review some two million pages of documents his defense attorneys have received from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

According to Nanavati, the government turned over roughly 50,000 pages of new discovery materials to the defense on Friday, “a mere 19 days before the scheduled trial in this case.”

Since May, the government has produced 140,000 pages of documents, Nanavati added.

The defense attorney noted that the team only received information on July 3 from the electronic devices of Manafort’s long-time business associate, Rick Gates, who was indicted alongside Manafort but pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI on Feb. 23, and has been cooperating with Mueller since.

“It is critically important for the defense to have sufficient time to review the discovery with Mr. Manafort because he understands many of the relevant documents (and their context) better than anyone else,” the July 6 motion says (emphasis original).

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, Judge T.S. Ellis III, ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller respond no later than July 13 to a request made by Manafort last week.

Manafort’s defense attorneys asked Ellis on Friday to change venues for their client’s trial in Virginia; moving it from the suburbs of Alexandria, Virginia just outside the Washington, D.C. hoi polloi to a venue in Roanoke, Virginia, roughly four hours away.

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