Paul Manafort’s 2nd trial will not involve Russia investigation, U.S. judge rules
The federal judge overseeing the second trial of Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, ruled on Wednesday that a federal investigation of possible collusion between the campaign and Russia cannot be discussed during the trial.
The collusion investigation being led by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is “wholly irrelevant to the charges in this case,” Judge Amy Berman Jackson said during a pre-trial hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Manafort was convicted last month of charges including bank and tax fraud. Jackson said on Wednesday that while prosecutors may present evidence used in the first trial, the jury will not be allowed to hear about Manafort’s prior conviction.
She also said she plans to deny a request by Manafort’s defense attorneys to move the trial to different court, saying that concerns about the political affiliations of the jury pool in Washington, D.C., is “not a lawful basis” for a venue transfer.
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During the trial, which begins with jury selection on Sept. 17 and opening arguments Sept. 24, Manafort will face seven counts, including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements and witness tampering.
Manafort, a long-time Washington lobbyist who was with Trump’s campaign from March through August in 2016, was convicted on Aug. 21 on eight counts in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, related to bank fraud, tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
The jury deadlocked on 10 other charges and prosecutors have not announced if they will seek to retry him
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