Special counsel Robert Mueller revealed in court filings Tuesday that he is seeking immunity for five potential witnesses in next week’s criminal trial of Paul Manafort.
The court filing was a request by Mueller that he be allowed to keep secret, for now, the identity of the five possible witnesses, unless and until they are called to testify publicly at the trial.
“The five individuals identified in the motions at issue are third parties who have not been charged in this matter, and who have not been identified publicly with the case,” Mueller said in the court document. “Disclosing the motions would reveal those individuals’ involvement in the investigation and the trial, thereby creating the risk of their undue harassment. Such concern potentially would be heightened by the additional revelation that they have invoked their privilege against self-incrimination and may be granted immunity from the use against them of any compelled testimony.”
He also raised the concern that “the witnesses’ invocation of their privilege against self-incrimination and the Court’s subsequent grant of immunity could lead to reputational harm for the witnesses.”
Manafort faces trial in Virginia, where the former Trump campaign chairman has been charged with bank fraud and tax fraud. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis has scheduled the trial to begin on July 25.
“The government recognizes that if any of the five individuals are called to testify, their identity and receipt of use immunity likely will become public, and thus the concerns raised in this motion no longer would apply,” Mueller said. “Accordingly, in order to narrowly tailor its request, the government proposes that the information remain sealed unless and until the individuals testify in this case.”
Mueller said that while he is seeking to file the motions for immunity for the judge’s eyes only, any corresponding orders handed down by the judge would be provided to defense counsel by prosecutors ahead of the trial.
Read the filing below: