Manafort requests his trial be moved, argues Northern Virginia is too liberal
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday requested that his trial in Northern Virginia be moved, arguing in a three-page court filing that the area is part of the Washington, D.C., media market and therefore saturated with coverage of the special counsel investigation.
Manafort and his attorneys want the case moved to the Western District of Virginia, they wrote, which they said in a memo contains a more even split of voters who supported President Trump and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and would therefore be more fair to the former Trump aide.
“This may be the rare case where a juror’s predisposition may directly tie to their vote in the last presidential election,” the court filing reads. “It is not a stretch to expect that voters who supported Secretary Clinton would be predisposed against Mr. Manafort or that voters who supported President Trump would be less inclined toward the Special Counsel.”
“Notably, however, voters in the Alexandria Division voted 2-to-1 in favor of Secretary Clinton (66% Clinton; 34% Trump),” the filing continues. “This split is more balanced in other places in Roanoke, Virginia, located in the Western District of Virginia.”
The filing comes after Manafort attempted unsuccessfully to have the charges against him dismissed. He argued that the special counsel lacked the authority to bring charges against him that were unrelated to allegations of collusion with Russia during his time as chairman of the Trump campaign.
Manafort is accused of running a scheme along with his former business associate, Richard Gates, to hide money made from lobbying activities in Ukraine from U.S. authorities by disguising the payments as loans from offshore U.S. entities.
Mueller’s team of prosecutors also alleges that Manafort and Gates were involved in a plot to fraudulently secure “more than twenty million dollars in loans,” according to an indictment filed last year.
Gates pleaded guilty earlier this year to the charges against him, while Manafort has denied any wrongdoing. A judge in D.C. ordered Manafort to jail last month for violating the terms of his bail agreement by allegedly attempting to tamper with a witness. He is awaiting trial.
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