Judge: Mueller can prosecute Manafort

Breaking Federal judge just ruled on Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss Mueller charges

Judge Denies Manafort's Motion to Dismiss Charges in Russia Probe

The charges against him in the Washington case include conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States and failing to register as a foreign agent. "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".

She added that it was appropriate for federal investigators to look into Manafort's business connections in Russia and Ukraine while Mueller's office investigated possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Berman Jackson wrote. "Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest".

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.

Manafort faces a separate trial set for July 10 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mr Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and called the probe that has dogged his presidency a "witch hunt".

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.

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

Jackson said it was "logical and appropriate" for investigators to probe Manafort's dealings with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted by street protests in 2014 and now lives in exile in Russian Federation.

Republicans in the House of Representatives who are critical of the probe have pressed the justice department in recent months to provide them with an unredacted copy of the August memo.

That judge, T.S. Ellis, said he believed prosecutors were using the charges against Manafort to try to get him to turn against Trump. Manafort's motion to dismiss the case Mueller brought against him in Virginia is still pending.

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".

He told prosecutors to turn over a copy to him by Friday.

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