Special counsel Robert Mueller is asking a judge to grant immunity from prosecution for five potential witnesses whose testimony Mueller wants to compel at the upcoming federal criminal trial of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, according to a court filing Tuesday.
If the five unidentified people are not granted immunity — and compelled to testify against Manafort — they would either refuse to take the witness stand or refuse to answer questions by citing their Fifth Amendment right against being forced to incriminate themselves, according to Mueller's filing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mueller has also asked Judge T.S. Ellis to seal from public view the court motions detailing the witnesses' identities.
"The five individuals identified in the motions at issue are third parties who have not been charged in this matter, and who have not been identified publicly with the case," Mueller's team argued in a filing asking for that sealing order.
"Disclosing the motions would reveal those individuals’ involvement in the investigation and the trial, thereby creating the risk of their undue harassment."
Prosecutors also said that the witnesses could suffer "reputational harm" if their claim of Fifth Amendment protection and grant of immunity were to be revealed publicly.