Judge Upholds Mueller's Authority To Prosecute Manafort For Ukraine Dealings

Glen Norman
May 16, 2018

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt by Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, to get an indictment against him dismissed by claiming that special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment was flawed. "She goes on to say: "[Even] if one posits that the scrutiny of Manafort's alleged activities on behalf of Ukraine did not flow from the investigation of "links" to Russian Federation that was assigned to the Special Counsel, and that instead, it was a "matter that arose" from that investigation, the indictment should not be dismissed".

So the charges in Jackson's courtroom will proceed against Manafort, and they will be prosecuted by Robert Mueller.

Manafort, Jackson said, was not merely associated with President Donald Trump's campaign but served as its chairman for a time.


Manafort was indicted in October on charges of financial fraud and violating lobbying disclosure laws by failing to register his past work for the Russia-backed government of Ukraine.

Mr Rosenstein "expressly approved the special counsel's investigation of the facts alleged in the indictment, so there has been no violation of the regulations, and the special counsel did not act without authority", wrote judge Jackson, who was appointed by Democratic president Barack Obama. 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. In Virginia, he faces charges that include bank fraud and filing false tax returns.

Mr Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and called the probe that has dogged his presidency a "witch hunt".


Jackson added it was "logical and appropriate" for investigators tasked with pursuing any links to the Russian Federation investigation to direct their attention toward Manafort, due to his role in Trump's campaign. 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.

Her ruling also pointed to an August 2017 memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that detailed the scope of Mueller's investigation.

That judge, TS Ellis III for the eastern district of Virginia, has yet to rule on whether to dismiss the charges against Mr Manafort.


Second, even if Mueller had exceeded his authority, the regulations governing appointments of special counsel provide that they "are not meant to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity, by any person or entity, in any matter, civil, criminal, or administrative".

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