Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Judge Denies Manafort's Motion To Dismiss Some Of Mueller's Charges

Judge Denies Manafort's Motion To Dismiss Some Of Mueller's Charges

The judge deemed that the indictment "falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel", according to The Atlantic staff writer Natasha Bertrand.

The charges against him in the Washington case include conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States and failing to register as a foreign agent.

The ruling is in response to a civil case brought by Manafort, who has argued Mueller exceeded his authority because the case against him was unrelated to Russian election interference.

"Manafort was, at one time, not merely "associated with" but the chairman of the presidential campaign and his work on behalf of the Russian-backed Ukrainian national party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record", Jackson wrote.

Kevin Downing, Manafort's lawyer, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling. US 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.

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Jackson said Justice Department regulations allow for a "broad grant of authority". The charges against Manafort relate to his decade of work as a political consultant to Ukrainian politicians.

Later in the opinion, the judge clearly says that it was squarely within Mueller's scope to pursue Manafort's links to Russian Federation.

In addition to the Washington indictment, Manafort also faces charges in Virginia of bank fraud and tax evasion. Jackson said that even if the Manafort case didn't arise from links to Russian Federation, and instead was a matter that arose from that investigation, the indictment should stand. Ellis expressed his skepticism at a previous hearing that Mueller's current investigation into Russian coordination during the 2016 campaign would connect to Manafort's lobbying activities years before the Trump campaign existed.

"It bears emphasizing at this stage that Manafort is presumed to be innocent of these charges, and it will be the prosecution's burden to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt".

Paul Manafort's defense against charges from special counsel Robert Mueller just took another hit. Manafort has asked a different federal judge there to dismiss his case on similar grounds.

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