Lawyers for Paul Manafort filed a motion Wednesday to move the former Trump campaign chairman’s upcoming trial from Washington, D.C., to Roanoke, Virginia, arguing that the extensive media coverage and politicization of Manafort’s case will make it impossible to find a fair jury. “It is difficult, if not impossible, to divorce the political issues in this case from the political views of potential jurors,” the motion argues. It adds that moving the trial away from D.C., where 90.9 percent of voters supported Hillary Clinton, to a more rural location with a more evenly “balanced” voter pool, is required to guarantee Manafort his Sixth Amendment right to trial by “indifferent” jurors “free from outside influences.” Otherwise, the motion concludes, a fair trial will be “impossible.”
The trial, at which Manafort will face money laundering and other charges brought by special counsel Mueller, is scheduled to begin jury selection on Sept. 17, according to CNBC. The judge told Manafort’s lawyers Tuesday that she would not pre-judge their motion—but she seemed disinclined to accept it, noting that the D.C. federal court has successfully handled other high-profile cases, and that jury bias could be eliminated through a questionnaire.