Mueller turns over evidence for ex-Trump campaign manager Manafort's trial

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2017 4:18 PM

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has turned over more than 400,000 emails, financial records and other documents to defense attorneys for President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort to demonstrate what evidence the government has against him, according to a court filing on Friday.

The documents, part of the discovery process ahead of a criminal trial next year, offer insight into how much evidence Mueller already has amassed regarding Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates.

According to Friday's filing, Mueller's team of prosecutors has collected more than 400,000 items and another 2,000 so-called "hot" documents, or those that contain potentially crucial evidence.

They have imaged copies of 36 electronic devices such as laptops, telephones and thumb drives, and copies of 15 search or seizure warrants.

The documents also include foreign bank account records from Cyprus and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, locations that have previously been identified by the U.S. State Department as vulnerable to money laundering and other financial crimes.

In addition, prosecutors turned over documents from Manafort's tax preparer deemed "particularly relevant," deposition testimony given by the defendants "in another matter," which was not specified, and imaged copies of 27 electronic devices that were seized when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Manafort's Virginia home earlier this year.

By law, the government is required to turn over all of the evidence it has amassed so a defendant can prepare and have a fair trial.

Mueller's team also indicated in Friday's filing that it had turned over information that may be helpful to Manafort's defense and potentially impeach one of the government's witnesses.

Such information, known as "Brady" material, is also required by law to be turned over by the government. The filing did not specify what kind of information was contained in its Brady disclosure to Manafort's attorneys.

A spokesman for Manafort declined to comment on Friday's court filing.

Both Manafort and Gates are due to appear Monday morning at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a previously scheduled status conference.

At that hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson might set a trial date, and also resolve a dispute between the government and the defendants over the terms of their bail.

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Friday's filing offered a window into how wide a net Mueller is casting, as he investigates accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Russia has denied any meddling and Trump has dismissed any suggestions of collusion.

A federal grand jury indicted Manafort and Gates in October as part of Mueller’s investigation.

The charges against Manafort include conspiracy to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent working on behalf of former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in 2014.

All the documents will be kept confidential under a protective order.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by John Walcott)