Judge rejects Manafort attempt to dismiss criminal case

Clay Curtis
May 16, 2018

The indictment said Concord was controlled by Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, who US officials have said has extensive ties to Russia's military and political establishment.

Rosenstein "expressly approved the special counsel's investigation of the facts alleged in the indictment, so there has been no violation of the regulations, and the special counsel did not act without authority", wrote Jackson, who was appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama.

A federal judge dealt President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort a major blow on Tuesday by refusing to dismiss criminal charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, after Manafort claimed that Mueller's probe has run amok and should be reined in.

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".

After Jackson's ruling against Manafort, his spokesman Jason Maloni said Manafort "maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter". "The management of the investigation into the allegations against Manafort has been consistent with the objectives and requirements of the set of regulations as a whole, as well as the terms of the individual regulation upon which the defendant relies", said Jackson, a 2011 Obama appointee. She cited an August 2017 memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that prosecutors had filed in the case.

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"Who had connections to the Russian government?"

Jackson had previously thrown out a civil case Manafort brought challenging Mueller's authority. The Virginia indictment accuses him of hiding tens of millions of dollars he earned advising pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine from 2006 through 2015.

None of the charges against Manafort involve crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

It has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and its lawyers are due to appear in a federal courthouse for a status hearing Wednesday. Ellis has not yet ruled on Manafort's motion to dismiss the charges against him in the tax case.

That judge, T.S. Ellis, said he believed prosecutors were using the charges against Manafort to try to get him to turn against Trump.

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