Judge grants five witnesses limited immunity in Manafort trial

Judge grants five witnesses limited immunity in Manafort trial 

Posted: 8:57 pm Monday, July 23rd, 2018

By Jamie Dupree

Postponing the start of Paul Manafort’s trial on bank and tax fraud until next week, a federal judge in Virginia on Monday granted the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to give limited immunity to five different people in exchange for their testimony in the bank and tax fraud trial of the former Trump Campaign Manager.

Judge T.S. Ellis III gave Manafort’s defense an extra six days to review documents in the case, setting the start of the trial for July 31.

During a pair of hearings on Monday, federal prosecutors indicated they believed that Manafort had given false financial information to the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, in order to get $16 million in home loans after the 2016 election.

According to the government, the head of that bank, former Trump Campaign economic adviser Stephen Calk, was interested in getting a position within the Trump Administration.

Also on Monday afternoon, Judge Ellis agreed to the request by Mueller’s office for ‘use immunity’ for five different witnesses, all of whom had said they would take the Fifth Amendment if called to testify in Manafort’s trial.

The five witnesses who will get limited immunity for their testimony are:
+ James Brennan
+ Donna Duggan
+ Conor O’Brien
+ Cindy Laporta
+ Dennis Raico




At least two of those five were employees of the Federal Savings Bank, which granted the $16 million in loans to Manafort.

While a variety of conservative media had reported that one of the five to get immunity would be Tony Podesta, the brother of former Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, that name did not show up among those who were given what is known as “use immunity,” which applies only to this case, and is not a blanket grant of immunity.

Lawyers for Manafort had asked for a trial delay of several months, but Judge Ellis refused to grant that, opting for a July 31 start date.

Hearings will start on Tuesday morning on the questionnaire for prospective jurors in the trial, as Manafort faces bank and tax fraud charges.

Manafort also faces a trial in federal court in Washington, D.C. on separate charges.

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