Judge denies Manafort’s request to move trial venue

A federal judge has denied former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s request to move his trial from the Washington, D.C. area, to southwest Virginia, CBS News’ Clare Hymes reports. The trial is set to begin July 25 in Alexandria, Va.

Manafort had requested to move the trial to Roanoke, Va., citing alleged bias in the D.C. area, where his name is well known. Manafort argued the media saturation wouldn’t allow him a fair and impartial trial, violating his 6th Amendment rights. 

Judge T.S. Ellis decided against Manafort’s request, writing, “the mere fact that a case has drawn substantial media attention does not, by itself, warrant a change in venue.” Alexandria, Ellis argued, is large enough to provide an impartial jury pool, and the coverage of the case hasn’t been “unique” to Alexandria. The trial publicity, Ellis argued, would be the same if the trial was happening in “Roanoke or Kansas City.”

This news comes as special counsel Robert Mueller requests immunity and identity protection for five witnesses to testify against Manafort. In a court filing, Mueller’s team said identifying the individuals would result in “risk of their undue harassment.”

Manafort was most recently moved to an Alexandria jail pending his trial, after previously being detained at a facility in Northern Neck, Virginia where he said in taped conversations that he was being treated like a “VIP” and has access to all the paperwork he needs to prepare his defense.

Manafort faces charges of bank and tax fraud related to his business dealings. 

— CBS News’ Clare Hymes contributed to this report.

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Categories: Government & Politics

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