WASHINGTON (AP) – Paul Manafort's former son-in-law says he was so busy investigating Robert Mueller that he could not keep up with his other legal issues, according to a court decision and a lawyer
Confirmation Jeffrey Yohai's extensive involvement in Mueller's ongoing investigation comes as he was apprehended in another investigation in New York and has reportedly cut a lawsuit against federal prosecutors in California. The developments could increase the pressure on Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, who suffered a setback in his legal defense earlier this week when a judge rejected his request to dismiss the charges against him.
According to May 10 court ruling, Yohai claims he missed time limits for transferring documents in the case "due to his involvement in the federal investigation by the Special Envoy's office" and other matters.
Chris Spuches, lawyer for the landlord, sued Yohai in the case, saying the judge was not impressed, saying "special adviser or no special advice," he needed to create documents and sit for a deposit.
During the hearing, Spokes said, Yohai's lawyer told him his client had spoken with Mueller's team and eventually talked to investigators without a lawyer because "he said he had nothing to hide."
Yohai's attorney Steven Czik denied this in a one-sentence email. He said this to Spookes, adding that to his knowledge, Yohai "did not appear before a special council". He would not continue to do so and did not answer any further questions.
Yohai did not respond immediately to a phone message seeking a comment. Other numbers associated with him were out of order.
Yohai was interrogated in separate hearings in New York and California in addition to his involvement in the exploratory investigation.
Reuters reported Thursday that Yohai abused in a request agreement with federal prosecutors in California in a case with allegations he appropriated from a construction loan. As part of this deal, which is still under wraps, the news agency reported that Yohai was required to cooperate with other federal investigations.
In recent months, Yohai has also taken investigators with the New York Attorney General's office investigating his financial affairs, according to a person who is familiar with the matter. This person was not authorized to publicly discuss a confidential investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined to comment. A spokesperson for the special defender did not immediately return a request for comment.
Manafort faces two criminal cases brought in by the Special Advisory Service's office. He is accused of bank fraud, tax evasion, representation as an unregistered foreign agent and misrepresentations about his political work in Ukraine, as well as loans he has raised for the purchase of US real estate.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to any wrongdoing.
Also on Thursday, in one of his cases, the prosecutor handed over to US District Judge TS Ellis III a full copy of a memo detailing the activities of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who authorized Mueller to investigate.
The public prosecutor's office filed a heavily edited copy of the three-page memo last month stating that Rosenstein had given Mueller authority to investigate Manafort's political work alongside Russian electoral blending. Ellis had pried on the lack of transparency and asked for a full copy, which he had filed under Siegel when considering a motion by Manafort to challenge the special speaker's authority in order to prosecute him.
In total, Mueller has filed charges against 19 people – including four Trump aides – and three Russian companies last year.
The August 2 memorandum was written before all allegations and confessions filed by Mueller's office, so it is likely to contain references to some of these public cases.
Pearson reported from New York.
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