Mueller Alleges His Probe Was Targeted By Russia-Based Disinformation Effort

Mueller Alleges His Probe Was Targeted By Russia-Based Disinformation Effort

Some "non-sensitive" material produced by special counsel Robert Mueller's team in the discovery process for his case against alleged Russian trolls appears to have made its way online last fall, part of a "disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the USA political system", according to a new court filing by the special counsel.

The prosecutors stopped short of accusing Concord of leaking the material, but they argue that the company's request to have sensitive new evidence sent to Russian Federation "unreasonably risks the national security interests of the United States". The names and numbering of the documents in question "significantly match the non-public names and file structure" of the discovery materials, prosecutors write. "You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russian Federation collusion".

The Russian firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, is being prosecuted in Mueller's investigation of USA allegations that Moscow meddled in 2016 to undermine the American democratic process and help then-Republican candidate Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

An FBI analysis of the files found that only about 1,000 of the 300,000 released were real documents provided to Concord by Mueller's team.

The companies named in the indictment included the Internet Research Agency (IRA), known for its trolling on social media, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which is said to have provided financial backing for the operation, and Concord Catering.

The data that appeared online was "altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the United States political system", prosecutors wrote. Prosecutors added that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had found no evidence the discovery files were hacked from US government computer servers. Concord's lawyers argued that sharing those materials with Prigozhin - known in Russian Federation as "Putin's Chief" for the facilities services he provides to the Kremlin - and others outside the legal team is necessary for their defense in the case.

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The FBI has found no evidence that USA servers were compromised, and the IP address of the account used to publish the materials originated in Russian Federation, prosecutors said.

The Russian company is fighting the charges in federal court in Washington D.C. and has maintained USA and Russian legal representation.

A lawyer for Concord didn't return a phone message.

"After all, it was (apparently) Prigozhin's choice to have Concord enter an appearance in this criminal case, knowing that he was under indictment but declining to appear himself, let alone accept notice of the indictment", the filing says.

He is not expected to appear in a U.S. court because Russian Federation does not have an extradition treaty with the US.

"Indeed, the government does not oppose such a review even by indicted officers and employees of Concord, as their appearance in the United States would allow them to stand trial", the court documents read.

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