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Judge rejects Manafort motion to dismiss Russian Federation probe charges

16 May 2018, 07:06 | Taylor George

Blow Paul Manafort was told his attempt to get the case in Washington D.C. dismissed had failed in a 37-page ruling

Blow Paul Manafort was told his attempt to get the case in Washington D.C. dismissed had failed in a 37-page ruling

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has the authority to prosecute Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Trump's presidential campaign.

Jackson said the Manafort prosecution falls squarely within the mandate of Mueller, whose May 2017 appointment order directs him to investigate links or coordination between Russian Federation and people associated with Trump's campaign.

"[Ellis' comments] have really thrown this into a new dimension if there's a real possibility they [the special counsel's office] don't have authorization", Giuliani said, adding that if Ellis ruled against Mueller, "They're going to have a big problem".

In response to these charges, Manafort claimed that he could not be prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the particular charges against him are outside of Mueller's properly delegated authority.

Manafort, a former chairman for the Trump campaign, has been charged in D.C. with money laundering, failure to register foreign lobbying and false statements.

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But Berman Jackson concluded for several reasons that Mueller's investigation and prosecution of Manafort is legal - and that the special counsel still can maintain some independence while working within the Department of Justice.

Manafort is facing separate fraud charges in Alexandria, Virginia, federal court. "So even in the unlikely event that the Acting Attorney General and the Special Counsel never discussed what the investigation included at the time of the appointment, the singular event that defendant insists would be necessary to make his indictment valid - an explicit referral of the specific matter to the Special Counsel - has taken place".

Mr Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and called the probe that has dogged his presidency a "witch hunt". 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. "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".

Her ruling also pointed to an August 2017 memo by Mr Rosenstein that further detailed the scope of the probe. 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. The judge there is weighing a similar request to dismiss a tax- and bank-fraud case against him.



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