Court records: Mueller estimates weekslong Manafort trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller estimates his prosecutors will need three weeks to present their case against ex-Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates to a jury, according to a court filing made public Friday.
Responding to a federal judge in Washington, Mueller prosecutor Kyle Freeny wrote that the government will likely need 15 trial days to present evidence supporting a 12-count indictment unsealed earlier this week alleging violations of federal money laundering, banking and foreign lobbying laws.
Manafort, who served for five months as President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, and his former deputy Gates have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Both men were released on multimillion-dollar bonds but placed on house arrest. Manafort has asked a judge to ease the terms of his pretrial confinement, calling Mueller’s case “embellished,” in court papers filed this week.
Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, said he expects to file pre-trial motions to suppress evidence “improperly obtained by search warrant, subpoena or otherwise” by Mueller’s investigators, a court filing Friday shows.
Manafort’s Virginia home was raided in July by FBI agents.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set a tentative timeline for filings in the case, scheduling a possible May 7 trial date.
The charges against Manafort and Gates were the first criminal charges stemming from Mueller’s six-month probe of potential ties between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign.
Another campaign-era aide, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian agents during the 2016 presidential election and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigators, court records unsealed this week revealed.
Mueller’s charges against Manafort, 68, and Gates, 45, relate to their financial dealings while lobbying for Russia-friendly political interests in Ukraine as far back as 2012.
Trump wrote on Twitter this week that there was “NO COLLUSION” between his campaign and Russia and said the case centered on acts that occurred “years ago,” well before Manafort got involved with his campaign.