Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Ex-Trump campaign manager Manafort seeks to move,…

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Melinda Barton | 09 July, 2018, 05:33

The court document notes that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation has "dominated the news cycle in the United States" and that "a significant portion of the media coverage has focused on Mr. Manafort".

The trial in Alexandria is set to begin July 25.

The allegation of a possible quid pro quo came amid several court filings Friday as both sides count down the remaining weeks until the trial.

Manafort is one of four Trump campaign aides to have been charged in Mueller's investigation.

Manafort, 69, obtained the loans under dubious circumstances and Mueller's prosecutors say they intend to show the banking executive only approved them because of his personal stake in the Trump campaign.

The unidentified banking executive also "expressed interest in serving in the administration of President Trump, but did not secure such a position", according to the Mueller team.

While the senior executive is unnamed in this filing, in a previous court filing prosecutors identified Lender D as The Federal Savings Bank. "Here, it would be hard for the jury to understand why the loans were approved without understanding that the lender approved the loans, in spite of the identified deficiencies, because the senior executive factored in his own personal ambition".

On Friday, Manafort asked to change the trial location to Roanoke, Virginia, claiming the jury would carry less bias against President Trump.

The lawyers say that while the Washington region ranks first in the nation in households with computers and Internet access, "Roanoke is the 70th largest media outlet in the United States and 38 percent of households in Roanoke lack broadband compared to 3 percent in Northern Virginia".

Manafort, according to his lawyer, is being secluded because correctional officials "cannot otherwise guarantee his safety".

That is listed as one of the reason's Manafort's legal team is asking for the case to be shifted from the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia to Roanoke. Manafort was indicted past year for laundering money and for acting as an unregistered foreign agent of the pro-Russian Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych.

They cited voting data showing Hillary Clinton took two-thirds of the 2016 presidential vote in Alexandria, which was part of an "inside-the-Beltway" area preoccupied with political media coverage, much of it negative towards Manafort and Trump.

"It is not a stretch to expect that voters who supported Secretary Clinton would be predisposed against Mr. Manafort". If the judge finds that there indeed were illegal leaks, the investigators could be sanctioned.