Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Judge refuses to toss Manafort charges; another judge has yet to rule

MUELLER MADNESS: Charged Company Says Mueller Out to 'Indict ANY Russian' Indicted firm: Mueller trying to 'justify his own existence' and 'indict a Russian — any Russian'
Steven Clarke | 16 May, 2018, 21:11

In a pointed rejection of Manafort's claims late on May 15, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with Mueller, ruling that his case against Manafort is not overly broad or improper despite not being directly connected to the election, Radio Liberty reported.

None of the charges against Manafort involve crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. That memo explicitly gave Mueller authority to probe all of Manafort's Ukraine-related work predating the 2016 campaign.

Citing Manafort's years of work in Ukraine, his prominent role on the Trump campaign and his publicised connections to Russian figures, Jackson said it was "logical and appropriate" for Mueller's team to scrutinise him as part of their investigation into Russian election meddling and possible coordination with Trump associates.

USA district judge Amy Jackson declined to throw out the case against Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel.

WASHINGTON, DC. - President Donald Trump's attorney has an unlikely new role model for special counsel Robert Mueller: James Comey.

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In both criminal cases, Manafort has asked the courts to dismiss the charges on the grounds that Rosenstein's May 17, 2017 appointment order hiring Mueller runs afoul of Justice Department rules on special counsels. The memo shows Rosenstein specifically authorised Mueller to investigate payments Manafort received from the Ukrainian government "before and during the tenure" of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who was one of Manafort's clients.

"It bears emphasizing at this stage that Manafort is presumed to be innocent of these charges", Jackson said.

"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. His trial is scheduled to start September 17.

He faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia, for a trial set to begin in July. But Ellis also suggested that if he ruled in Manafort's favor, the case could simply be returned to the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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