Friday, 17 August, 2018

Manafort asks to have charges dismissed

03_15_Manafort Paul Manafort Takes Another Crack At Challenging Robert Mueller's Appointment As Special Counsel
Ellis Copeland | 16 March, 2018, 10:47

Manafort yesterday asked a US federal judge to dismiss some of the criminal charges related to his lobbying in Ukraine, arguing that that work falls outside the remit of Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the alleged crimes predate the 2016 presidential election, USA Today reports. He argues that even if he failed to register to lobby in the United States for foreign governments, he didn't make his consulting income illegally. Acknowledging that Mueller was granted the power to investigate and prosecute whatever he discovered during his Russian Federation probe, Manafort claims that Mueller didn't discover the allegations against him because federal prosecutors were already aware of these allegations in the past and chose not to prosecute.

After Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced this week that they would wrap up the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Democrats on that panel now say they will also be issuing their own report, releasing a 21 page document detailing what they contend are holes in the GOP investigation, "especially with respect to the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice".

Alex van der Zwaan, a former lawyer with the Skadden, Arps, Meagher, & Flom law firm that prepared the report on Tymoshenko, pleaded guilty on 20 February to making false statements to US investigators about his work for the firm. At his first court appearance there on March 8, his lawyer told the judge that Manafort also planned to challenge the Virginia indictment on the grounds that the special counsel's appointment was invalid. Westling previously represented a former Louisiana governor in a civil forfeiture proceeding, according to his law firm biography. Here are the key points made in his court filings. Jackson also noted that Gates' "change of heart is quite recent". Manafort's motion likens this to "a blank check the Special Counsel has cashed, repeatedly", as evidence by this case, which is based on activities that allegedly took place years before the 2016 election that had nothing to do with Trump.

Gates' sentencing date has not yet been set.

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Manafort now wears two Global Positioning System monitors so that both the DC and Virginia federal courts can keep track of his movements. Manafort contends that federal regulations require that for a special counsel to go beyond his or her "original jurisdiction" - in this case, collusion with Russian Federation - the special counsel must consult with the attorney general and get their permission.

The grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Manafort in late February, which added new allegations - it upped the amount he was accused of laundering from $18 million to $30 million - and removed the foreign bank accounts-related counts, which special counsel prosecutors are now pursuing in another criminal case against Manafort in Virginia.

Mueller's prosecutors continue to claim Manafort is a flight risk, and both judges have agreed.

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