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

Saul Bowman
May 16, 2018

Paul Manafort's latest request to have one of special counsel Robert Mueller's indictments against him thrown out was shot down Tuesday when a federal judge in Washington rejected the former Trump campaign chairman's claim that the special counsel's investigative mandate is too broad.

Jackson wrote that "the Special Counsel was authorized from the start to investigate the defendant not only for coordinating with the Russian government, but also for violations of law arising out of payments received from the former President of Ukraine". Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on the ruling. "She goes on to say: "[Even] if one posits that the scrutiny of Manafort's alleged activities on behalf of Ukraine did not flow from the investigation of "links" to Russian Federation that was assigned to the Special Counsel, and that instead, it was a "matter that arose" from that investigation, the indictment should not be dismissed".

The decision was a setback for Manafort in his defense against charges of money-laundering conspiracy, false statements and acting as an unregistered foreign agent related to his Ukrainian political work.

"Manafort complains that the appointment order 'purports to give the special counsel jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute anything else he might discover during the course of the original investigation", Jackson wrote, "but that is not what the order says".

Manafort asked to dismiss charges related to his lobbying and political consulting activities, the court filing said. Manafort had argued that Mueller had exceeded his authority because the case was unrelated to Russian election interference. Previously Law&Crime speculated that maybe Trump might be waiting to see how the Manafort cases in EDVA and D.C. would shake out before making a decision about speaking to Mueller.


U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia.

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 him as part of their investigation into Russian election meddling and possible coordination with Trump associates.

Mr Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and called the probe that has dogged his presidency a "witch hunt". She cited not only the May 2017 appointment order, but also an August 2, 2017, memo by Rosenstein that further detailed the responsibility given to Mueller.

That judge, TS Ellis III for the eastern district of Virginia, has yet to rule on whether to dismiss the charges against Mr Manafort.

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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