Friday, 17 August, 2018

Judge Denies Manafort's Motion to Dismiss Charges in Russia Probe

Rudy Giuliani an attorney for President Donald Trump applauds at the Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights and democracy at the Grand Hyatt in Washington Judge Denies Manafort's Motion to Dismiss Charges in Russia Probe
Melinda Barton | 16 May, 2018, 21:12

In a sharp rebuke of those claims, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of USA district court for the district of Columbia ruled that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had followed all the Justice Department's rules when he hired Mueller and Mueller's case against Manafort is not overly broad or improper.

Manafort had argued that Mueller has exceeded his investigatory authority and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's directive for Mueller to pursue "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation" fell outside the scope of Justice Department regulations on special counsels.

None of the charges against Manafort involve crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

"It bears emphasizing at this stage that Manafort is presumed to be innocent of these charges, and it will be the prosecution's burden to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt".

In her opinion, Jackson rejected those arguments.

Concord is one of three entities and 13 Russian individuals charged earlier this year by Mueller's office, in an alleged criminal and espionage conspiracy to meddle in the US race, boost then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and disparage his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. It was the first brought by Mueller directly charging Russians for alleged criminal offenses connected with their activities during the election. "Who attended meetings on behalf of the campaign?"

"Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest", the ruling said.

"The Special Counsel was authorized from the start to investigate the defendant not only for coordinating with the Russian government, but also for violations of law arising out of payments received from the former President of Ukraine", the document said Tuesday.

Following the release of Jackson's opinion, Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said, "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter". His trial is scheduled to start September 17. In addition to the Washington indictment, Manafort also faces charges in Virginia of bank fraud and tax evasion.

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

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