Judge Rejects Manafort Challenge To Mueller Indictment

by Antonio Miles May 16, 2018, 12:41
Judge Rejects Manafort Challenge To Mueller Indictment

Manafort claims that these charges are beyond Mueller's authority, which extends to "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump", and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation", among other things.

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 said the case against Manafort should proceed even if scrutiny of his past activity came about not from the investigation of "links" to Russian but rather as a "matter that arose" from that probe.

Manafort faces a separate trial set for July 10 in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort's motion to dismiss the case Mueller brought against him in Virginia is still pending.

Manafort's defense team argued Mueller didn't have the authority to file certain charges.

"Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter", his spokesman, Jason Maloni, said in an email.

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To be clear, nothing in Jackson's decision is especially surprising - Manafort's challenge to Mueller's authority was always a long shot that was unlikely to prevail. The Virginia federal judge, TS Ellis, has not yet ruled on the question.

Those regulations, Jackson said, "place no boundaries on who can be investigated or what charges can be brought-what they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be".

In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".

She defended the actions of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation and appointed Mueller after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Jackson said it was "logical and appropriate" for investigators to probe Manafort's dealings with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted by street protests in 2014 and now lives in exile in Russian Federation.

United States district judge Amy Jackson declined to throw out the case against Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel. On May 4, Ellis ordered Mueller's prosecutors two weeks to provide "completely unredacted versions of [Deputy Attorney General] Rosenstein's orders assigning special counsel Mueller" before he would make a decision on keeping the Manafort indictment or dismissing it.

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