WASHINGTON Special Adviser Robert Mueller worked within his authority when he brought charges against former campaign chairman Paul Manafort of President Donald Trump, who served as federal judge on Tuesday in Washington.
The decision was a setback for Manafort in his defense charges for money laundering conspiracy, false statements and as an unregistered foreign agent related to his Ukrainian political work. Manafort had argued that Mueller had exceeded his authority because the case was unrelated to Russian ballot.
But US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson objected.
Manafh's longstanding work in Ukraine, his outstanding role in the Trump campaign, and in his published links with Russian personalities, told Jackson that it was "logical and appropriate" that Mueller's team overcame him in the course of their investigation investigated the interference of Russian voters and possible voting with Trump employees.
"Given what has been said publicly The Special Envoy would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government," Jackson wrote.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special adviser's office, declined to comment on the verdict. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said: "Paul Manafort retains his innocence and looks forward to governing the matter."
In her 37-page decision, Jackson received a point-for-point rejection of Manafort's arguments, including his claim that Mueller had received a "blank check" to investigate something "that he might trip over".
Jackson said that the Department of Justice's regulations allow for "broad approval of authority" for special advisors. And yet, she wrote, it was clear that Mueller had been specifically authorized to investigate not only Manafort's possible ties to Russia, but also his Ukrainian business.
She cited a memorandum from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of August 201
Jackson had previously thrown out a civilian case of Manaforts challenging Mutler's authority. Their Tuesday decision provides for one of two criminal cases against Manafort.
In addition to the lawsuit against Washington, Manafort in Virginia is also charged with bank fraud and tax evasion. The indictment in Virginia accuses him of hiding tens of millions of dollars from 2006 to 2015 for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. He also accuses him of fraudulently receiving millions of loans from financial institutions, even while working for the Trump campaign . None of the charges against Manafort relate to crimes related to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Manafort has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.
Manafort has filed a similar motion to drop his charges in Virginia. US District Judge T.S. Ellis III has yet to decide. Ellis had previously told Müllers team if the case was in his mandate and asked if they had brought the case to make Manafort testify against Trump.
Read Judge's Judgment: http://apne.ws/X9MUSQ6
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