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 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 Oct. 7 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 they provided to Danchenko’s lawyers, on Oct. 10, Keilty said.
Defense lawyers didn’t object to the proposal, he noted.
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 haven’t shed much light on potential witnesses in court filings. They did say that 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.