Judge rejects Manafort motion to dismiss Russian Federation probe charges

A federal judge in Washington says special counsel Robert Mueller was working within his authority when he brought charges against president Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. AP

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecution of Manafort on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine was within the authority that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted to Mueller in May.

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

Third, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had broad authority to "authorize the Special Counsel to investigate not only 'links and/or coordination, ' but also, 'any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.'" So even if the charges against Manafort were not sufficiently tied to Russian Federation, they could still potentially proceed under the remainder of the powers delegated to Mueller.

"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.

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Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office, declined to comment.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his lobbying work for Ukrainian politicians dating back to a decade ago. 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. 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.

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

He faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia, for a trial set to begin in July.

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"It was logical and appropriate for investigators tasked with the investigation of "any links" between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign to direct their attention to him", Jackson wrote.

Her ruling also pointed to an August 2017 memo by Mr Rosenstein that further detailed the scope of the probe. Manafort has asked a different federal judge there to dismiss his case on similar grounds.

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

None of the charges relate to allegations of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates, the main thrust of Mueller's public appointment order.

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