Special Counsel Durham Can Keep Witness List for Danchenko Trial Secret: Judge

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
October 8, 2022Politics
Special Counsel Durham Can Keep Witness List for Danchenko Trial Secret: Judge
Special Counsel John Durham arrives at federal court in Washington on May 18, 2022. (Teng Chen/The Epoch Times)

Special counsel John Durham can keep a list of witnesses he plans to call in an upcoming trial secret, a judge ruled on Oct. 7.

U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, a George W. Bush appointee, approved a motion from Durham’s team.

The witness list will be sealed and will remain under seal until further order from the court, Trenga said.

Durham’s prosecution of Igor Danchenko, a key source for the anti-Donald Trump dossier compiled on behalf of Democrats ahead of the 2016 presidential election, is set to start on Oct. 11.

Michael Keilty, an assistant special counsel, asked the court on Friday to seal the list.

“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,” Keilty wrote.

Prosecutors plan to publicly file the list, which it provided to Danchenko’s lawyers on Oct. 10, Keilty said.

Defense lawyers did not object to the proposal, he added.

The filing cited rulings in other cases that sealed witness lists. In one, re Knight Pub. Co., the court wrote that a trial court “has supervisory power over its own records and may, in its discretion, seal documents if the public’s right of access is outweighed by competing interests.”

Prosecutors have not shed much light on potential witnesses in court filings. They did say they wanted to call Bernd Kuhlen, a German citizen who was a manager at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Moscow in 2016, while discussing Danchenko’s shifting statements regarding the claim that Trump, while staying at the hotel, made a degenerate request of hookers.

But Trenga denied the request, noting that none of the charges against Danchenko relate to the so-called pee tape.

Danchenko allegedly lied five times to FBI agents during interviews and was charged in 2021. The statements relate to his sourcing of information from Charles Dolan, a longtime Clinton family associate, and his alleged interactions with Sergei Millian, a businessman who used to be president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.

It was later revealed that the FBI paid Danchenko as a confidential human source for more than three years.

Prosecutors have said they plan to call Dolan but that Millian will not testify due to concerns about his personal safety, and the safety of his family.

Danchenko has pleaded not guilty and said he told the truth in the interviews.

Danchenko provided information to Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy that compiled the anti-Trump dossier while being paid by Hillary Clinton, who was vying with Trump for the presidency, and the Democratic National Committee.

The dossier was infamously full of salacious, unsubstantiated accusations. Many of its claims have been ruled inaccurate or false by federal investigators, including the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General.

From The Epoch Times

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