Mueller, Manafort To Court: No Mention Of Trump During Trial

Pablo Martinez MonsivaisAP Images

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former Trump Campaign manager Paul Manafort may have, at last, found common ground. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors and Manafort’s defense team filed separate motions with a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, asking to ban mention of Trump during Manafort’s trial, Politico reports.

Mueller’s team wrote the following in a court filing.

“Manafort should also be precluded from arguing that he has been singled out for prosecution because of his position in the campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump, or otherwise asserting that he has been selectively prosecuted by the Special Counsel’s Office. Manafort elected not to make that claim in a pretrial motion.”

Manafort’s legal team, using broader, more direct language, drafted the following motion.

“Here, evidence or argument relating to Mr. Manafort’s work for then-candidate Trump’s campaign in 2016 or the Special Counsel’s investigation of the campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government is wholly irrelevant to whether Mr. Manafort’s personal income tax returns were false, whether he willfully failed to file reports of foreign accounts, and whether he conspired to commit, or committed, bank fraud.”

As Politico notes, Manafort’s legal team also expressed concern regarding anti-Trump bias among potential jurors, citing that as another reason to forbid any mention of the president’s name.

For Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, according to Politico, banning mention of Donald Trump during the Manafort trial is crucial, since the former Trump campaign manager’s legal team could argue that their client was targeted because of his role in the Trump campaign.

The trial in the Virginia case is set to open on July 25, and the D.C. trial is set to open on September 17.

The D.C. trial, and the case Mueller’s team has been building against Manafort in Washington, relates to Manafort and associate Konstantin Kilimnik’s alleged conspiring to get potential witnesses to lie about lobbying work the two men had done on behalf of Ukraine, Bloomberg noted.

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Manafort, the 20th individual charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s election meddling probe, was previously charged with laundering millions of dollars earned from lobbying. Both Konstantin Kilimnik and Paul Manafort were also charged with obstructing justice.

Kilimnik, Bloomberg notes, is alleged to have ties to Russia’s military intelligence, having studied at a Moscow military institute considered a training ground for translators working as Kremlin spies. Prior to being identified by his full name, Konstantin Kilimnik, was referred to by Mueller’s team only as Manafort’s Ukraine associate.

Robert Mueller continues to build his case steadily, as the Inquisitr recently reported, steamrolling Trump’s campaign against him, using a diverse arsenal of legal maneuvers to target some of the president’s closest confidants, Paul Manafort included.