The indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and his longtime employee and business partner, Rick Gates, has garnered international attention, as has the other bombshell revealed the same day—the guilty plea and “active” cooperation with law enforcement by former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Mostly lost among the headlines regarding the first charges to be brought by Robert Mueller and the Special Counsel’s Office investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election was the simultaneous release of a court opinion compelling one of Manafort’s own lawyers to testify in the grand jury. A review of the decision and the indictment indicates that the lawyer is likely to be a key witness against Manafort and Gates at trial.
Many explanations account for the comparative lack of attention to this development. After all, the substance of the charges and what they suggest about where the investigation has been and where it is going are far more intriguing subjects for speculation, and prior public reports reveal that law enforcement has taken aggressive investigative steps against Manafort, including tapping his phones pursuant to a foreign intelligence surveillance warrant and searching his residence. But part of the explanation may be that nowadays, moves by federal prosecutors to force a target’s lawyer to testify in the grand jury against a client are not terribly unusual or controversial.
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