Monday, 21 May, 2018

Judge Upholds Mueller's Authority To Prosecute Manafort For Ukraine Dealings

Judge denies ex Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s request to dismiss his federal indictment Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's case will go to trial
Ellis Copeland | 16 May, 2018, 07:03

Judge Jackson previously dismissed a civil case Manafort filed against Mueller, in which Manafort's attorneys argued that the scope of Mueller's investigation was too broad.

Jackson ordered that Robert Mueller's authority under the special counsel guidelines is wide enough to cover investigation of Manafort, given he was Trump's campaign chairman.

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 Mr Manafort claimed that the probe has run amok and should be reined in.

She said: the Manafort indictment falls "squarely within" Mueller's authority; the investigation was "logical and appropriate; special counsel regulations do not "create any substantive rights for the benefit of individuals under investigation"; Mueller would have been "remiss" to ignore this "obvious potential link" between Manafort's alleged Ukraine dealings and Russia's election interference".

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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Manafort is facing criminal charges of charges of money-laundering conspiracy, false statements and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

"When it promulgated the regulations, the department anticipated that a special counsel, like any other prosecutor, could become aware of, and could have legitimate reasons to explore, paths that branch out naturally from the original investigation, as well as entirely new and disconnected allegations", Jackson wrote.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office, declined to comment. And regardless, she wrote, it was clear that Mueller had been specifically authorized to investigate not only Manafort's possible links to Russian Federation but also his Ukrainian business.

Jackson sided with prosecutors who had produced an August 2017 memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, as well as in the charges that included bank fraud and tax fraud that were brought against him in Virginia.

None of the charges against Manafort involve crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Manafort was indicted in October on charges of financial fraud and violating lobbying disclosure laws by failing to register his past work for the Russia-backed government of Ukraine. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has yet to rule on it. Ellis had previously grilled Mueller's team on whether the case was within his mandate and questioned whether they brought the case to get Manafort to testify against Trump.

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