Igor Danchenko trial: John Durham can keep witness list secret, judge says

A federal judge on Friday stated particular counsel John Durham can keep his list of witnesses underneath wraps forward of the felony trial in opposition to a Russian analyst who was a key supply for a now-debunked 2016 linking former President Donald Trump to Russia.

The one-page order from U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga didn’t clarify the reasoning behind his resolution. It got here simply hours after Mr. Durham requested to keep his witness list underneath seal till Monday, someday earlier than the trial of Igor Danchenko is scheduled to start.

“Given that this case has garnered significant media attention, the government is concerned about the potential harassment of its witnesses, should they be identified this far in advance of trial,” Mr. Durham wrote.

Mr. Durham added that he had already disclosed the witness list to Mr. Danchenko’s authorized workforce, which didn’t object to sealing it.

Mr. Danchenko was a key supply for the file of unverified and infrequently salacious allegations in opposition to Mr. Trump that have been compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele. Mr. Danchenko is going through 5 counts of mendacity to the FBI about how he compiled the data he turned over to Mr. Steele.

Those unproven allegations ended up within the so-called Steele file and have become a part of the idea for the FBI’s surveillance warrants for Trump marketing campaign affiliate Carter Page.

Prosecutors say these allegations have been primarily based on exaggerations, rumors, and outright lies. Conversations that Mr. Danchenko purportedly had with sources that both didn’t occur or got here from elsewhere, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

Some of the fabric compiled by Mr. Danchenko got here from Charles Dolan, a public relations govt with longstanding ties with Hillary Clinton, prosecutors stated. Instead, Mr. Danchenko informed FBI officers that info got here from high-level Russians with connections to the Kremlin, court docket paperwork say.

Defense attorneys have stated that the fees in opposition to Mr. Danchenko must be dropped as a result of his solutions have been “literally true” in response to slim questions from FBI brokers. For instance, Mr. Danchenko denied talking with Mr. Dolan since he communicated by e mail exchanges with the Clinton operative.

In one other occasion, prosecutors allege that Mr. Danchenko made up a cellphone name that he claimed got here from Sergei Millian, a Russia-U.S. chamber of commerce chief.

Defense attorneys say the data was relayed to Mr. Danchenko in an nameless cellphone name from somebody believed to be Mr. Millian. They say the federal government can’t show that the defendant made a false assertion if he believed it was true.

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