By Gregg Re, ,
Published July 18, 2018
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team on Tuesday requested that a court compel "five potential witnesses" to testify at one of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's upcoming trials in exchange for immunity, court records showed.
In a memo filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mueller's lawyers also requested a court order that the identities of the witnesses remain secret until their public testimony in the July 25 trial, because publicly revealing their names would "create 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," according to the filing.
Witnesses offered full immunity generally cannot invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying at trial, as long as the grant of immunity removes any risk that they would face criminal legal consequences for their testimony.
However, the legal filing notes, in arguing to keep the witnesses anonymous, that "there is also a concern that the witness' invocation of their privilege against self-incrimination and the court's subsequent grant of immunity could lead to reputational harm for the witnesses."
Mueller's team claimed in a filing last month that Manafort tried to tamper with two potential witnesses in one of his upcoming trials while under house arrest.
That led Washington, D.C., District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to revoke Manafort's $10 million bail and send the onetime power player to jail pending trial.
Manafort's trial before Jackson is expected to take place in September.
Manafort faces numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, making false statements and working as an unregistered agent of the government of Ukraine. He faces decades in prison if convicted.
Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain, Jake Gibson and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.