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Bernie Sanders’s strategist Tad Devine is set to testify against Paul Manafort

Tad Devine in New York in 2016. He was chief political strategist for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), during the 2016 presidential race.
Tad Devine in New York in 2016. He was chief political strategist for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), during the 2016 presidential race. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

The chief strategist on the Sen. Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign for president is a potential witness in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s federal trial on bank- and tax-fraud charges.

Tad Devine, who worked with Manafort to help elect strongman Viktor Yanukovych president of Ukraine in 2010, revealed Thursday that he is assisting the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Also on the list of 35 potential prosecution witnesses for the trial set to begin Tuesday in Alexandria, Va., is Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner and a key cooperator in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. Gates earlier this year pleaded guilty to two charges in federal court in Washington, where Manafort faces a separate group of charges.

Read the witness list here

“Congratulations on a great campaign,” Devine wrote Manafort in an email after Yanukovych’s February 2010 victory. “You deserve enormous credit for pulling everything together, and for your leadership. It was great to be part of the team.”

Manafort is accused of hiding the funds he made from working in Ukraine to avoid paying taxes, then turning to bank fraud when Yanukovych was forced from power and the money dried up.

“The Special Counsel has asked Tad Devine to appear and testify about media consulting work on past political campaigns in Ukraine,” Devine’s firm Devine Mulvey Longabaugh said in a statement. “We have been assured by the Special Counsel’s Office that we have no legal exposure, did not act unlawfully, and that Tad is testifying as a fact witness.

Daniel Rabin, another Democratic strategist who worked with Manafort and Devine in Ukraine, is also prepared to testify. So is Alex Trusko, the former Manafort assistant who let FBI agents into his boss’s storage unit.

Several witnesses come from Manafort’s tax accounting firm and lending banks that have confirmed their cooperation in the case. Wayne Holland, a real estate agent who helped Manafort buy his Alexandria apartment, already testified before a grand jury.

Others, according to online records, appear to work for vendors who sold Manafort luxury goods, including Yankees tickets, a Mercedes Benz and high-end suits, as well as landscapers and home contractors.

Judge T.S. Ellis III asked the prosecutors to make the list public at a hearing earlier this week, although that is not typical practice in the Eastern District of Virginia.

“This isn’t a typical case,” the judge said.