Mueller team asks judge to stop Manafort from using ‘selective prosecution’ argument

Mueller team asks judge to stop Manafort from using ‘selective prosecution’ argument
© Greg Nash

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s team on Monday reportedly requested a federal judge prevent former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCohen questioned for hours in Mueller probe about Trump's dealings with Russia: report Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Hillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe MORE from arguing at his trial that he’s the subject of selective prosecution.

Bloomberg reported that prosecutors for Mueller asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to stop Manafort from arguing that the special counsel targeted him for “vindictive reasons.”

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The news outlet reported that prosecutors also requested Berman block Manafort from providing evidence that shows he was investigated, but not charged, prior to Mueller’s appointment last summer.

Mueller’s team argued that any suggestion that the special counsel “resurrected” old charges would be misleading because it would indicate the Justice Department had concluded its original investigation.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud and money laundering, among others. His trial is set to begin in September in Northern Virginia.

Manafort's lawyers argued in a filing Friday that his trial should be moved to Roanoke, Va., because Northern Virginia is saturated with media coverage and he would not be able to get a fair trial.

Manafort and his legal team have thus far unsuccessfully argued for the charges to be dismissed on the grounds that Mueller lacked the authority to bring the charges against him.

Jackson sent Manafort to jail last month after Mueller's team requested she revoke his pretrial release conditions. Prosecutors said Manafort tried to tamper with potential witnesses by persuading them to lie to investigators about lobbying work for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort is one of four former Trump associates to face indictment or plead guilty thus far in Mueller’s probe into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.