Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking a federal judge to grant immunity to five witnesses who may be called to testify at the upcoming trial of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud.
Mueller’s prosecutors did not identify the potential witnesses publicly, but said they had indicated they would invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination unless they were granted immunity.
“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,” prosecutors wrote. “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.”
It’s unclear who the witnesses might be, but various individuals familiar with Manafort’s finances and his spending habits on oriental rugs, pricey suits and home renovations are expected to be among those called by the prosecution.
The witnesses’ identities and their immunity arrangements will become public if they are called, but the prosecutors’ new motion, filed Tuesday, asked U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III to keep the details under wraps in case some or all of the individuals are not called.
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