Robert Mueller had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort: judge

16 May, 2018, 15:08 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Robert Mueller

In a sharp rebuke of those claims, judge Amy Berman Jackson of USA district court for the District of Columbia ruled that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had followed all the justice department's rules when he hired Mr Mueller and the case against Mr Manafort is not overly broad or improper.

Manafort claims that these charges are beyond Mueller's authority, which extends to "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump", and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation", among other things.

Manafort also faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Mr Trump's campaign.

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

Manafort's defense lawyer, former MIller & Chevalier partner Kevin Downing, has stressed that the alleged misconduct predated the 2016 presidential campaign and therefore was outside Mueller's authority. "So even in the unlikely event that the Acting Attorney General and the Special Counsel never discussed what the investigation included at the time of the appointment, the singular event that defendant insists would be necessary to make his indictment valid - an explicit referral of the specific matter to the Special Counsel - has taken place". On Tuesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, one of the two judges hearing the cases against Manafort, rejected these arguments.

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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.

In response to these charges, Manafort claimed that he could not be prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the particular charges against him are outside of Mueller's properly delegated authority.

Giuliani himself mentioned Judge T.S. Ellis' remarks in a BuzzFeed News interview.

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.

Judge Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by Republican president Ronald Reagan, has also said he too wants to see an unredacted copy before he can fully form a decision on whether to dismiss the charges.

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

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