Opening of Manafort Trial Delayed Until July 31, Judge Says

(Bloomberg) -- The opening of the Virginia criminal trial of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, on tax- and bank-fraud charges was postponed until July 31.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on Monday granted a request by Manafort’s lawyers to delay the start so that the defense team could review 120,000 pages of documents they received this month from prosecutors. It was scheduled to begin on July 25.

Also on Monday, the judge unsealed a list of five people who had been granted immunity to provide testimony in the trial.

Defense attorney Kevin Downing said in a hearing that many of the documents related to Rick Gates, Manafort’s right-hand man who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors. He’s expected to be the star witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“This is the heart of the case,” Downing said in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. “I would consider these to be very important items for us to look at before the trial.”

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