Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Judge refuses to dismiss ex-Trump aide Manafort's criminal case

Breaking Federal judge just ruled on Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss Mueller charges Judge Denies Manafort's Motion to Dismiss Charges in Russia Probe
Sammy Stanley | 16 May, 2018, 07:04

In response to these charges, Manafort claimed that he could not be prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the particular charges against him are outside of Mueller's properly delegated authority.

Second, even if Mueller had exceeded his authority, the regulations governing appointments of special counsel provide that they "are not meant to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity, by any person or entity, in any matter, civil, criminal, or administrative".

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday denied Manafort's request that she throw out the indictment brought in the criminal case against him in Washington D.C. She had previously thrown out a civil lawsuit Manafort filed against Mueller seeking to narrow his investigation.

Citing Manafort's years of work in Ukraine, his prominent role on the Trump campaign and his publicized connections to Russian figures, Jackson said it was "logical and appropriate" for Mueller's team to scrutinize Manafort as part of their investigation into Russian election meddling and possible coordination with Trump associates.

The charges against him in the Washington case include conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Jackson added it was "logical and appropriate" for investigators tasked with pursuing any links to the Russian Federation investigation to direct their attention toward Manafort, due to his role in Trump's campaign.

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U.S. district judge Amy Jackson declined to throw out the case against Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel.

Additionally, Jackson said that the Justice Department regulations created for special counsel investigations are not enforceable for defendants in court.

Jackson sided with prosecutors who had produced an August 2017 memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That memo explicitly gave the special counsel authority to probe all of Mr Manafort's Ukraine-related work predating the 2016 campaign. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

The decision allows one of two criminal cases against Manafort to proceed.

He said Mueller didn't care about Manafort's alleged bank and tax fraud and wanted to use Manafort as a vehicle to get to Trump. It also accuses him of fraudulently obtaining millions in loans from financial institutions including while he worked for the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, Manafort's claims seemed to take on a new life earlier this month when Judge T.S. Ellis, the judge hearing the remaining charges against Mueller, asked some skeptical questions about Mueller's authority during a recent hearing.

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