Monday, 17 December, 2018

Judge Rules Robert Mueller Has the Right to Prosecute Paul Manafort

Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington Judge Rules Robert Mueller Has the Right to Prosecute Paul Manafort
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 06:31

Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a federal judge to reject a request by Paul Manafort, the indicted former Trump campaign chairman, for a hearing to determine whether government officials improperly leaked secret grand-jury information to the news media.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, faces an array of criminal charges in two different federal courts, including money laundering charges and allegations that he worked as an unregistered agent for the Ukrainian government. The memo, which came months before Manafort's indictment, shows Rosenstein specifically authorized Mueller to investigate Manafort's Ukrainian work and related financial crimes.

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.

"Manafort's speculative claim of improper conduct falls far short of the showing necessary to warrant a hearing on potential violations of [a grand jury secrecy rule] or of his constitutional rights", prosecutors wrote.

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Jackson said the Manafort prosecution falls squarely within the mandate of Mueller, whose May 2017 appointment order directs him to investigate links or coordination between Russian Federation and people associated with Trump's campaign.

In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's other arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".

Jackson previously had thrown out a civil case Manafort brought challenging Mueller's authority. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment. And it appears that the challenged indictment "were already a part of the ongoing inquiry that was lawfully transferred to the Special Counsel by the Department of Justice in May of 2017". 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. The Virginia indictment accuses him of hiding tens of millions of dollars he earned advising pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine from 2006 through 2015.

Manafort, Jackson said, was not merely associated with President Donald Trump's campaign but served as its chairman for a time. His lawyers filed for a dismissal on the basis that the charges extended beyond the scope of Mueller's appointment.

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