Mueller Files List of Potential Witnesses for Manafort Trial in Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday filed a list of 35 potential witnesses for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s trial on fraud and conspiracy charges next week.

Among those long expected to appear on the list are Richard Gates, Manafort’s former business partner who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to the FBI in February, and the five individuals who were granted immunity by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III last week: James Brennan, Donna Duggan, Conor O’Brien, Cindy Laporta, and Dennis Raico, all of whom are involved in banking in finance.

The other names on the list range from Tad Devine, a veteran Democratic operative who worked as a senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, to Irfan Kirimca, the senior director of ticket operations for the New York Yankees.

Devine worked with Manafort on campaign strategy for Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych previously.

Alex Trusko, Manafort’s former personal assistant – who ultimately let the FBI into Manafort’s private storage unit in Virginia where several boxes of financial records were stored – will also testify against him, as will Wayne Holland, Manafort’s former realtor.

It is expected Holland will provide information at trial about Manafort’s numerous real estate transactions. Holland sold Manafort the Alexandria, Virginia condo that was raided by the FBI, according to a report by Politico last year.

Holland also appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. in October where he objected to providing a federal judge with information about broker records he kept for Manafort. Holland deemed them privileged and confidential under law in Virginia and Washington, D.C.  but Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell disagreed.

According to Howell, the confidentiality rules did not bar prosecutors from issuing grand jury subpoenas calling for information related to the real estate transactions.

Friday was a busy day for pretrial developments in the Manafort case n Virginia. Earlier in the day, Ellis granted Mueller’s request for more time to review an extensive list of exhibits former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort wants thrown out before his trial begins next week.

In a two-page order issued Friday morning, the judge gave Mueller and his team until 5 p.m. Monday to go over the list of 50 exihibts, spanning over 450 pages, that Manafort attorney Kevin Downing wants excluded from the trial.

Nearly all of the exhibits relate specifically to lobbying work Manafort did for Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych.

Earlier this week, Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to finish identifying the exhibits either side wants to preclude ahead of trial.

The judge set a deadline for stipulations for this Friday. But the defense’s last minute request to knock out a sizeable portion of special counsel’s evidence on Thursday night,  prompted Mueller to ask the judge for an extension through Monday — just 24 hours before Manafort’s bank and tax fraud trial is scheduled to begin in Virginia.

He also faces a second trial, in Washington, D.C., later this year.

Manafort’s attorneys and the special counsel’s office have addressed other issues, however. Both sides agreed to the submission of several  financial records that detail how, when, where and what Manafort spent his considerable earnings on.

One of the exhibits details the more than $1 million Manafort spent on renovations for a master bedroom and bathroom at his property in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The payments to a contractor were wired from bank accounts Manafort held in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Other evidence which prosecutors will likely use as proof of money laundering show a seemingly complicated relationship Manafort established with his Oriental rug dealer.

According to one exhibit, “J and J Oriental Rug Gallery and Jesand Investment Corporation, through Mr. Manafort, entered into a loan agreement. Jesand Investment Corporation agreed to loan J and J Rug Gallery $250,000 for investment in oriental rugs in exchange for 40 percent of the profit on any sale of rugs and $500,000 of oriental rugs as collateral.”

In a separate order, Ellis addressed juror selection.

Mueller requested a handful out of the 30 jurors Ellis excused from service earlier this week be retained.

On Wednesday, Ellis claimed half of the 30 jurors picked were unable to be impartial on their jury questionnaire. But Mueller urged Ellis to hold back on ousting the entire group, asking for just three to stay in the pool.

Ellis agreed Friday in part – he’ll keep the three Mueller wants for now, but the remaining 27 jurors have been excused.

His order came as another 30 jurors were summoned at the federal court in Virginia Friday. Only 29 appeared according to an order filed by Judge Ellis, and he reviewed the jurors responses to the questionnaire and determined that 10 must be stricken from the pool.

Eight were removed due to scheduling conflicts while just two were removed due to questions over their ability to be impartial, the judge said.

Finally, Manafort’s attorneys have filed a request with Judge Ellis for 12 blank subpoenas. The subpoenas are for witnesses that could testify on his behalf at trial.

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