Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving to subpoena 35 witnesses to testify in the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Fox News has learned.
Mueller’s team made its request to the clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Virginia on April 6.
“It is respectfully requested that the Clerk of said Court issue subpoenas as indicated below for appearance before said Court at Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States District Court at 10:00 o’clock a.m., on the 10th day of July, 2018, then and there to testify on behalf of the United States,” the request, obtained and reviewed by Fox News, read.
The subpoenas, at this time, are blank, meaning Mueller and the special counsel team could have the opportunity to call 35 witnesses to testify against Manafort in his trial. It is unclear at this point who the special counsel will subpoena to testify on behalf of the United States.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III will hear Manafort’s case. Last month, Ellis noted, in an order made public, that Manafort “poses a substantial flight risk” because of his “financial means and international connections to flee and remain at large.”
“Specifically given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison,” Ellis wrote in the court order.
Manafort was indicted both in October 2017 and in February 2018 in Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The first indictment was brought in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., heard by Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The superseding indictment was brought in Alexandria, Va. before Judge Ellis, including 18 counts of tax evasion and bank fraud.
Manafort, a well-known political operative with a long history of work in Republican circles, has been ordered to wear two GPS monitoring anklets, or bracelets—one from each court house, and is confined to his house, with exceptions of medical emergencies, doctor appointments, court dates, meetings with legal representation or religious worship.
Manafort lives in Alexandria, but also owns properties in Florida and New York.
Manafort’s ex-associate Rick Gates, who also worked on the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty in February to his October indictment, after initially pleading not guilty. That indictment, brought against Manafort as well, included conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) statements, false statements and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign banks and financial accounts.
Mueller also brought the superseding indictment against Gates, but after his guilty plea, motioned to dismiss the additional charges. Gates has intimate knowledge of Manafort’s political consulting work in Ukraine, as well as other events that have sparked the interest of federal investigators.
Mueller’s move to drop the superseding charges against Gates signals his cooperation with the special counsel team as it pursues charges against Manafort.
Manafort’s legal team, though, filed a motion to dismiss the second round of charges brought by Mueller in Virginia.
His lawyers asserted that Mueller exceeded the scope of the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion, and claimed that Mueller wasn’t even investigating Manafort for any possible collusion.
Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing filed a motion in court to dismiss the indictment, and noted that “the charges against Mr. Manafort do not arise directly from the special counsel’s investigation.”
“The conduct alleged here was not discovered because of the special counsel’s investigation into alleged coordination; nor was it ‘demonstrably related to’ that investigation,” the filing states, citing examples of alleged tax violations that occurred “well before the start of the Trump campaign or Mr. Manafort’s brief involvement with that campaign,” or the alleged failures to disclose foreign assets.
“The DOJ well knew about both of those supposed crimes because it had already investigated Mr. Manafort about them,” it said. “The special counsel thus cannot credibly claim that he discovered them because of his original investigation.”
Manafort’s attorneys added: “Indeed, the special counsel has never suggested that Mr. Manafort had anything to do with alleged ‘coordination [with] the Russian government,’ or even that he is investigating Mr. Manafort on that subject.”