Judge: Special counsel had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort

Breaking Federal judge just ruled on Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss Mueller charges

He has also argued that Mr Mueller's case against him has nothing to do with Russian interference in 2016 election, and that the probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into his Ukraine dealings predates the Russia 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.

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. Previously Law&Crime speculated that maybe Trump might be waiting to see how the Manafort cases in EDVA and D.C. would shake out before making a decision about speaking to Mueller.

She cites the instructions drafted for Mueller by Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein, which instruct the special counsel to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign".

"The motion to dismiss will be denied for a number of reasons", ruled U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a 36-page opinion.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to charges related to his lobbying work before 2014 on behalf of Ukraine's pro-Russian president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort was the campaign's chairman, and "his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record".

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"The Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", she wrote later in the opinion.

Additionally, Jackson said that the Justice Department regulations created for special counsel investigations are not enforceable for defendants in court.

Those regulations, Jackson said, "place no boundaries on who can be investigated or what charges can be brought-what they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be". His lawyers filed for a dismissal on the basis that the charges extended beyond the scope of Mueller's appointment. 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.

In addition to the Washington indictment, Manafort also faces charges in Virginia of bank fraud and tax evasion.

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