Judge Denies Manafort's Motion To Dismiss Some Of Mueller's Charges

Judge Denies Manafort's Motion To Dismiss Some Of Mueller's Charges

A Washington federal judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss the criminal charges against former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, ruling that the "indictment falls squarely within" the authority given to the special counsel for the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump's former campaign chairman has mounted multiple legal challenges to the criminal cases against him in Washington, D.C., and Virginia by arguing that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller had exceeded their authority to investigate and charge him. Jackson said that even if Mueller proceeded on Manafort as a "matter that arose" from the investigation, the indictment should stand.

Manafort's trial in Virginia is scheduled to begin on July 10, and his Washington, D.C., trial is slated for September.

The ruling marks a setback for Mr Manafort, who last month was buoyed when the judge in the Alexandria case aggressively questioned prosecutors about whether their case was overly broad and mused that he believed they were using the charges to get him to turn over dirt on Mr Trump. The regulations overseeing a special counsel place no boundaries on who can be investigated or what charges can be brought, she wrote. The charges against Manafort relate to his decade of work as a political consultant to Ukrainian politicians.

"Given what was being said publicly, the special counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", Jackson wrote.

Beyond investigating links between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign, Mueller is also charged with pursuing "any matter that arose or may arise directly" from his collusion probe. 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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"This is exactly what the Department of Justice regulations contemplate".

It said that Mueller should purse allegations that Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials" and that he committed crimes "arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government" before and after the term of President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia.

Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 and resigned that August amid news reports about his activities in Ukraine. Manafort's motion to dismiss the case Mueller brought against him in Virginia is still pending.

Previously, Manafort was charged with a litany of formal accusations that are primarily related to his alleged efforts to submit false tax returns, failure to file reports about foreign bank accounts, and commit bank fraud.

Ellis, a 1987 Reagan appointee, said the special counsel still may well have the authority to bring the charges, adding at one point, "I'm not saying it's illegitimate".

The fact that Ellis asked such questions does not mean that he will rule in Manafort's favor.

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