Thursday, 17 January, 2019

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

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
Deanna Wagner | 16 May, 2018, 09:42

US prosecutors said in a filing Monday that defense attorneys had failed to provide evidence that news reports about Mueller's investigation of Manafort were based on matters before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., that indicted him in February on tax- and bank-fraud charges.

Jackson said the regulations are not meant to allow investigation targets to use them to challenge criminal, but are intended to provide independence and accountability in sensitive investigations, giving a special counsel wide discretion while requiring department consultation and approval, which she said was done. "But the indictment will not be dismissed, and the matter will proceed to trial", Berman Jackson wrote in her opinion Tuesday. Judge Amy Berman Jackson clearly didn't not have the same issues when Manafort and his legal team questioned the scope of Mueller's authority in the case against Manafort in D.C.

They objected to Manafort being charged for alleged conduct that occurred before the 2016 campaign, and asserted that the authorization for Mueller's probe was so broad it was a "blank check" and violates Justice Department regulations they say call for a "specific factual statement" of matters under investigation.

The sharp rhetoric from Concord Management and Consulting LLC suggests the makings of a pitched court fight and a fresh challenge to the authority of special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department last May to investigate potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, faces an array of criminal charges in two different federal courts, including money laundering charges and allegations that he worked as an unregistered agent for the Ukrainian government.

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"He was appointed to take over an existing investigation, and it appears from the chronology and the written record that the matters contained in the Superseding Indictment were already a part of the ongoing inquiry that was lawfully transferred to the Special Counsel by the Department of Justice in May of 2017", she said. Jackson said that even if the Manafort case didn't arise from links to Russian Federation, and instead was a matter that arose from that investigation, the indictment should stand. Manafort had argued that Mueller had exceeded his authority because the case was unrelated to Russian election interference.

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

Manafort's lawyers' previous push for dismissal hinged on the argument that because the crimes in question do not directly relate to Mueller's core mandate - investigating whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow - he was not authorized to charge Manafort with them.

Manafort is facing separate fraud charges in Alexandria, Virginia, federal court.

Judge Jackson was not moved by any of Mr Manafort's assertions.