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Mueller team urges federal judge to reject request for hearing on leaks: report

Mueller team urges federal judge to reject request for hearing on leaks: report
© Getty Images/Greg Nash

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE is reportedly pressing a federal judge to turn down a request from former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManafort appears in wheelchair at court hearing Manafort to be sentenced in Virginia in February Former FBI agent sentenced to 4 years in jail for leaking to reporter MORE to hold a hearing about leaks surrounding the investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling. 

Manafort has asked a federal judge in Virginia for a hearing where witnesses could be summoned to testify about leaks to the media, Politico reported Monday. He argued that the leaking of sensitive details about the investigation into him prevented him from getting a fair trial.

Prosecutors responded to Manafort in a court filing on Monday by arguing that the anonymously sourced news accounts Manafort's defense cited do not “mention the role or activities of a grand jury” and thus doesn’t merit a hearing.

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“Many of the matters reported, if accurate, would have been known to the defense, to witnesses who were interviewed or subpoenaed for documents, or to other investigators examining overlapping issues,” prosecutors wrote. “The cited articles, in short, do not establish any factual basis for the inquiry that Manafort asks the Court to undertake.”

The prosecutors noted that the leaks could have originated from members of Congress or their aides.

They also made the case that if such a hearing was permitted, it would be fair to try to determine if any of the leaks came from Manafort’s defense or his spokesperson.

Manafort is currently facing multiple charges — including tax evasion, bank fraud and money laundering — brought by Mueller in Washington, D.C., and Virginia courts.

As Mueller’s investigation enters its second year, the special counsel’s team reportedly wants to question President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE but the White House has been hesitant to agree to an interview.

The special counsel’s investigation and the raid are reportedly on Trump’s mind quite often. The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump vents to associates about the raid as often as “20 times a day.”