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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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A group headed by an ex-Trump voter fraud commissioner that was sued over misleading reports it produced claiming to show mass non-citizen voter registration is taking its legal defense to a whole new level.

In new court filings, the group is blaming state election officials for any inaccuracies in the reports, and is seeking to drag them into the litigation and saddle them with any liability for the group’s reports.

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Prosecutors in Paul Manafort’s Virginia case asked a judge on Wednesday for more time to decide whether they’ll seek a retrial for the 10 counts on which the jury was deadlocked. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis last week told prosecutors to state their intentions by Wednesday, but prosecutors are asking the deadline to be extended until a week after the judge rules on whatever post-trial motions Manafort files.

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Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort formally requested Wednesday that his upcoming trial in D.C. be moved to Roanoke, Virginia, in a court filing that claimed, “Nowhere in the country is the bias against Mr. Manafort more apparent than here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.”

His attorneys previously indicated at a pretrial hearing in D.C. on Tuesday that they were planning to file the request. The judge, U.S. District Amy Berman Jackson appeared skeptical, and the attorneys said they wanted to make the request for the purposes of the record.

A similar request to move Manafort’s recent trial in Alexandria, Virginia was denied.

The Wednesday filing argued that while the Manafort case has received national attention, the coverage “has been most intense in and around Washington, D.C.”

“Mr. Manafort as the first person tried and convicted by the Special Counsel’s Office, has become an unwilling player in the larger drama between Mr. Mueller and President Trump,” the filing said.

Manafort, in his Virginia bank fraud and tax fraud case, was convicted on eight counts, with the jury hung on 10 others. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges he’s facing in D.C., which include money laundering, witness tampering and failure to disclose foreign lobbying. Jury selection in that trial is scheduled begin on September 17.

Read the filing below:

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After much ado in Paul Manafort’s Virginia case about the facial expressions attorneys made, the judge overseeing the D.C. proceedings warned them against being so expressive when that case goes to trial next month.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, at pretrial hearing, cautioned that visible reactions from the attorneys are “not going to happen when there is a jury in the box.”

You may recall that such visible reactions from the attorneys also got a call-out from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in Virginia. Ellis, early into the trial, told them to “rein in their facial expressions” but later on, in a private bench conference, scolded prosecutor Greg Andres for looking down instead of looking at the judge.

“I don’t want to get in trouble for some facial expression,’’ Andres said, according to a transcript obtained by Bloomberg. “I don’t want to get yelled at again by the court for having some facial expression when I’m not doing anything wrong, but trying my case.”

A juror from that case told Fox News that the jury observed the prosecutors looking bored and even catnapping during the Virginia trial.

Andres will also be on the Mueller team for the D.C. trial, but he will be joined by Andrew Weissmann and Jeannie Rhee, who did not argue for the prosecution during the Virginia trial.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and attorneys for Paul Manafort engaged in an unsuccessful round of plea negotiations to head off a trial next month for charges he is facing in D.C., the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The discussions took place as a jury deliberated charges that Mueller brought against Manafort in Virginia, according to the Journal. The talks fell through due to issues raised by Mueller, according to one of the Journal’s sources.

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After national scrutiny and threats of lawsuits, the elections board overseeing the polling practices of a majority black county in Georgia stepped back from its plans to close seven out of nine voting sites in the county. The Randolph County Board of Elections, at a meeting that took about 60 seconds on Friday, voted down the proposal to close the polling places. The vote came after the decision earlier in the week to fire the consultant, a supporter of Georgia Republican secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who made the recommendation.

The move to close the polling places — albeit unsuccessful — brought to light what appears to be an emerging trend under the Trump administration: using the Americans with Disabilities Act as a pretext for closing election sites in counties with large minority populations. That excuse was part of the Randolph County proposal and, to wit, a Huffington Post public records request seeking documents pertaining to any ADA issues in the county revealed that no such materials existed, even though these supposed issues were the justification for the proposal.

The lawsuits against the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, which civil rights groups fear will discourage immigrant community participation on the survey and depress their political power, are chugging along. There are now four cases where a federal judge has ruled against the DOJ’s request to throw the cases out, meaning for now they will advance. There is a fifth case, in Maryland, in which the judge is still considering a motion to dismiss.

The challengers in one of the New York lawsuits against the question, meanwhile, have asked that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and civil rights division head John Gore be added to that case.

In North Carolina, a showdown between the GOP legislature and the Democratic governor over lawmakers’ proposed ballot initiatives seeking to strip Gov. Roy Cooper of some of his appointment powers prompted a court decision in the governor’s favor Tuesday. The court blocked the two ballot measures after finding that their wording was too misleading.

The Justice Department unveiled charges Friday against 19 people who allegedly voted as noncitizens in North Carolina. Nine of those 19 people also face charges that they falsified American citizenship to get on the voter rolls.

The White House, it was revealed last week, opposed a bipartisan election security bill, drafted as Congress investigates Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, that has stalled despite having the support of key senators of both parties.

Claims that the Democratic National Committee’s voter file had been targeted by a spearphishing attack turned out to be a false alarm. The phishing attempt was in fact a security test conducted at the behest of the Michigan state Democratic party, the DNC announced Wednesday night.

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