Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday ruled against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort by saying the investigation of alleged financial fraud falls within the mandate of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia Probe.
Referring to Mueller's appointment order, she said that the charges fell "squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel that Manafort finds unobjectionable: the order to investigate 'any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign.' (Manafort had also challenged the provision of the appointment order that said that Mueller could investigate matters "that arose or may arise directly" from the probe)". Jackson said that even if Mueller proceeded on Manafort as a "matter that arose" from the investigation, the indictment should stand.
In both criminal cases, Mr Manafort has asked the courts to dismiss the charges on the grounds that Mr Rosenstein's May 17, 2017 appointment order hiring the special counsel runs afoul of justice department rules on special counsels. "Who had connections to the Russian government?"
Manafort's trial in Virginia is scheduled to begin on July 10, and his Washington, D.C., trial is slated for September. The judge there is weighing a similar request to dismiss a tax- and bank-fraud case against him.
The special counsel's office declined to comment on Jackson's memorandum opinion.
Paul Manafort, who has been charged with money-laundering conspiracy, false statements and acting as an unregistered foreign agent, argued Mueller exceeded his authority as the case was unrelated to Russian election interference.
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"I don't see what relation this indictment has with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate", Ellis said.
Second, even if Mueller had exceeded his authority, the regulations governing appointments of special counsel provide that they "are not meant to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity, by any person or entity, in any matter, civil, criminal, or administrative". At a May 4 hearing, Ellis posed a series of sharp questions to a Justice Department lawyer, suggesting he may dismiss the case.
In her ruling on Tuesday, Jackson expressed no such qualms about Mueller's authority.
In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".
"What they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be", she said.
USA district judge Amy Jackson declined to throw out the case against Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel.