Judge Rejects Manafort Challenge To Mueller Indictment

US Judge Refuses to Dismiss Ex Trump Aide Paul Manafort's Criminal Case

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday ruled against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort by saying the investigation of alleged financial fraud falls within the mandate of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia Probe.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington said Mueller didn't overstep his authority by charging Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election interference, as defense lawyers claim.

"The case did not arise in a vacuum, and the special counsel did not create his own job description", Jackson wrote.

"The appointment order here purports to give the Special Counsel power to investigate a specifically identified matter and anything that arises in the course of the investigation, without further consulting or obtaining approval from the Attorney General or Acting Attorney General", a filing by Manafort's lawyer read.

Judge Jackson previously dismissed a civil case Manafort filed against Mueller, in which Manafort's attorneys argued that the scope of Mueller's investigation was too broad. A federal judge has asked skeptical questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's authority to bring charges against former Manafort and suggested prosecutors' true motive is getting Manafort to "sing" against the president.


She added that it was appropriate for federal investigators to look into Manafort's business connections in Russia and Ukraine while Mueller's office investigated possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

"Given what was being said publicly, the special counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", Jackson said in the 37-page opinion.

First, the indictment "falls squarely" within Mueller's authority to investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation. Jackson said that even if Mueller proceeded on Manafort as a "matter that arose" from the investigation, the indictment should stand. It appeared from the record, the judge said, that the conduct at issue in the indictment was already part of an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice inquiry that was transferred to the special counsel. She cited not only the May 2017 appointment order, but also an August 2, 2017, memo by Rosenstein that further detailed the responsibility given to Mueller.

"What they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be", she said. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, as well as in the charges that included bank fraud and tax fraud that were brought against him in Virginia. And regardless, she wrote, it was clear that Mueller had been specifically authorized to investigate not only Manafort's possible links to Russian Federation but also his Ukrainian business.

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