Judge upholds Mueller's authority to prosecute former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

Judge upholds Mueller's authority to prosecute former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort

A federal district court judge on Tuesday rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's request to toss out five criminal charges against him in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's Russian Federation investigation. Manafort has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

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. "She goes on to say: "[Even] if one posits that the scrutiny of Manafort's alleged activities on behalf of Ukraine did not flow from the investigation of "links" to Russian Federation that was assigned to the Special Counsel, and that instead, it was a "matter that arose" from that investigation, the indictment should not be dismissed".

As Judge Jackson explains, Manafort's challenge to Mueller's authority fails for four reasons.

Manafort had claimed special counsel Robert Mueller's appointment order was too broad, and thus his investigation had overstepped its legal authority.

"The Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", she said. Ellis expressed his skepticism at a previous hearing that Mueller's current investigation into Russian coordination during the 2016 campaign would connect to Manafort's lobbying activities years before the Trump campaign existed.

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I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate.

The decision allows one of two criminal cases against Manafort to proceed. It appeared from the record, the judge said, that the conduct at issue in the indictment was already part of an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice inquiry that was transferred to the special counsel.

Those regulations, Jackson said, "place no boundaries on who can be investigated or what charges can be brought-what they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be". In that case, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia expressed skepticism earlier this month of the scope of Mueller's authority.

He faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia, for a trial set to begin in July.

Although Trump's new attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested the delay had more to do with the leak of Mueller's potential questions for Trump, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Michael Cohen's office and Trump's upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, there was still a reason to pay close attention to Manafort.

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