- The Washington Times
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A list of roughly 30 potential witnesses who will testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will be made public by the end of the week, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

It was the biggest revelation in a rather procedural hearing before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Virginia where Mr. Manafort’s criminal trial on tax and bank fraud is expected to start next week.

Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges, brought by attorneys for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It will be the first the trial related to Mr. Mueller’s Russai investigation.

Most of the hearing was focused on the fitness of a few dozen potential jurors. Judge Ellis told the jurors they must be able to put aside anything they had heard about the case and focus solely on the evidence.

“Nothing you do as an American citizen is more important,” Judge Ellis said. “Together with voting is is one of the two cardinal duties of being an American citizen.”

After Judge Ellis explained the criminal charges against Mr. Manafort to the potential jurors, they were escorted out of the courtroom to fill out questionnaires about their ability to serve on a jury.

The questionnaire includes questions about their interests and personal experiences. Several questions focus on potential jurors’ affiliation with law enforcement agencies. That prompted prosecutors to note that agents from the FBI, IRS and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Judge Ellis also instructed the potential jurors not to discuss the questionnaire, ordering them to tell if anyone approaches them.

Ultimately 16 jurors and a handful of alternates will be selected for the trial.

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