Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team can use evidence from a 1980s Department of Justice review of Paul Manafort’s lobbying activities in the former Trump campaign chairman’s upcoming Washington, D.C., trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
The same federal judge also pushed back Manafort’s trial date to Sept. 24.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson approved the use of the roughly 30-year-old report, which prosecutors argued is proof that Manafort was long aware of the disclosure requirements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. He is charged with failing to register as a foreign agent under the FARA.
In court papers, Mr. Mueller’s team argued the 1980s review discovered 18 instances of lobbying and public relations activities that Manafort should have disclosed. They said the report’s content prompted Manafort to resign as director of a federal agency in 1986. The report directly rebuts claims by Manafort’s attorneys that he was unaware of the foreign lobbying disclosure rules.
Although Judge Jackson approved the report, she said she wants to limit the amount of evidence introduced in Manafort’s trial to avoid “a trial within a trial,” where both sides and jurors are overwhelmed with evidence. Therefore, the report will be introduced as a stipulation showing Manafort was told of lobbying disclosure rules in the 1980s instead of the entire review being introduced.
Manafort was convicted last week when a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, found him guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, but deadlocked on 10 other charges. He now faces a seven-count indictment in the Washington trial with charges including money laundering, obstruction of justice and failure to register as a foreign agent.
Judge Jackson also granted the defense attorneys’ request to delay the Washington trial by one week. Manafort’s lawyer said they needed more time after the more than three-week Virginia trial. They also indicated they may ask for a change of venue because of pretrial publicity.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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