Mueller Seeks Protective Order of Discovery in Manafort’s Va. Case

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller and attorneys for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort can agree on one thing – any evidence unearthed in discovery should be privy to a protective order.

In a seven-page motion filed Monday in the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Andrew Weissmann, senior assistant to special counsel Mueller, asked U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III to a approve a proposed protective order intended to “ensure the confidentiality of personal identification information and discovery.”

The courthouse in Alexandria is one of two venues in which Manafort faces multiple charges of bank and tax fraud and making false statements on a foreign agent registry from. The other is the federal court in Washington, D.C.

“The defense shall not share or provide the materials or their contents directly or indirectly to any person or entity other than persons who are interviewed as potential witnesses, counsel for potential witnesses, and other persons to whom the court may authorize disclosure,” the proposed order states.

It goes on to say thatp otential witnesses and their counsel may be shown copies of documents they need to prepare, but none will be retained or created without explicit permission from Judge Ellis.

According to the request, the restriction will not apply to documents that “are or become part of the public court record, including documents that have been received in evidence at other trials.”

A protective order limiting discovery for Manafort’s trial at the District of Columbia was put into effect on Nov. 14, 2017.

Weissmann emphasized in Monday’s request that nothing in the new filing was intended to limit the use of information produced in his Manafort’s case in federal court in Washington.

“Because the defendant has consented to discovery in both cases being produced together … nothing in this order is intended to limit the use of any material produced [in D.C. prosecution] … further, because [Manafort] has consented to discovery in both cases being produced together, nothing in this order is intended to limit the use of any materials produced in [the Eastern District of Virginia,]” the filling states.

It also spells out what’s to happen to discovery material at the conclusion of the case.

“[A]ll of the materials and all copies made thereof shall be disposed of in one of three ways unless otherwise ordered by the Court: the materials may be destroyed, returned to the United States, or retained in defense counsel’s case file,” it says.

Manafort’s trial in Virginia begins July 10. His trial in Washington begins in September.

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