Mueller Seeks More Subpoenas Ahead of Manafort Trial

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) –  Special Counsel Robert Mueller requested Wednesday that a federal court in Virginia issue additional blank subpoenas sets, for the first day of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s trial.

In May, Mueller asked the court to issue 90 sets of subpoenas for potential witnesses for the Manafort trial. Wednesday’s request is for five additional sets.

The last round of preparations for the fast-approaching trial in Virginia appear to be underway; on Tuesday, Judge T.S. Ellis III agreed to reschedule the trial date from July 24 to July 25.

The request was made in light of conflicting schedules Manafort has with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where he will also stand trial in September.

Traditionally, subpoenas are issued in sets before a trial – one copy for the prosecution and one for the defense.

This latest request marks a small development in Mueller’s subpoena requests overall. In May, he asked for only 70 blank sets. Wednesday’s filing marks five more sets heaped onto the existing pile. 

A spokesman from the special counsel’s ofice declined to comment Wednesday.

At the bottom of Wednesday’s request, under a straightforward instruction that subpoena recipients bring along relevant records or documents they’ve electronically stored to court this July, an additional line beneath it can’t be read. It is marked as “under seal.”

Manafort, who faces multiple counts of bank and tax fraud, plus conspiracy and making false statements is scheduled to appear this Friday in Washington D.C. before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Judge Jackson will consider whether or not Manafort’s bail should be revoked in light of recent allegations by Mueller that the former Trump campaign chairman tampered with a witness. The basis for the allegations stemmed from evidence an FBI agent compiled after monitoring Manafort’s communications following his arrest.

The agent claimed Manafort and a former business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, obstructed justice when they “knowingly and intentionally” attempted to push witnesses off testifying at the forthcoming trials. Special Counsel claims the men wanted witnesses to testify in a way that deflected any connections between American officials and their own lobbying work.

In a response to the obstruction charge on June 9, Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing challenged the allegations, saying Mueller was conjuring up a “sinister plot” around both Kilimnik and Manafort.

According to the Washington Post, Kilimnik is believed to be living in Russia. If so, extradition will almost certainly be off the table since Russia does not extradite its citizens.

If Jackson rules in favor of prosecutors Friday and revokes his bond, Manafort will wait out the remainder of time before trial in jail.

%d bloggers like this: