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Witness list for trial of Trump’s former campaign chief released

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has submitted a list of 35 potential witnesses for the Virginia trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort due to begin next Tuesday, court documents filed on Friday showed.

The list included Manafort’s longtime business associate Richard Gates, who was indicted in October at the same time as Manafort. Gates pleaded guilty in February and has been cooperating in Mueller’s probe.

Also on the list was Tad Devine, a consultant who worked with Manafort in Ukraine and served as the chief strategist for Democratic presidential contender Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016. He is assisting federal prosecutors in the case against Manafort.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of bank and tax fraud and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Many of the witnesses are executives at banks and financial services firms. The list suggests Mueller plans to use witnesses to corroborate and supplement documentary evidence showing the alleged bank and tax fraud at the heart of the trial in Virginia.

Five of the witnesses, all financial professionals, were identified previously when they were granted immunity to testify.

The trial had been scheduled to start this past Wednesday, but U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III delayed it until next week and directed Mueller to provide his witness list to lawyers for the defense.

Among Manafort associates not on the list are Jeffrey Yohai, Manafort’s former son-in-law and business partner.

The charges against Manafort largely pre-date the five months he worked on the Trump team in 2016, some of them as campaign chairman.

None of the charges relate to possible coordination with Russian officials by members of the Trump campaign, which is part of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the election. Russia denies election interference and Trump denies collusion.

Manafort faces a second criminal trial in Washington in September on related charges, including witness tampering, in connection with lobbying work he performed for the pro-Russia Ukrainian government.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Additional reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by David Alexander and Will Dunham)

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