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US Judge Refuses to Dismiss Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort's Criminal Case

US Judge Refuses to Dismiss Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort's Criminal Case”

A USA judge rejected former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's motion to dismiss charges that arose in the Russian Federation investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Mueller didn't overstep his authority by charging Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election interference as defense lawyers claim.

Jackson wrote that "the Special Counsel was authorized from the start to investigate the defendant not only for coordinating with the Russian government, but also for violations of law arising out of payments received from the former President of Ukraine".

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. 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". A spokesman for the Special Counsel declined to comment. Ellis has not yet ruled on Manafort's motion to dismiss the charges against him in the tax case.

"When it promulgated the regulations, the department anticipated that a special counsel, like any other prosecutor, could become aware of, and could have legitimate reasons to explore, paths that branch out naturally from the original investigation, as well as entirely new and disconnected allegations", Jackson wrote. Manafort is also facing charges of bank fraud in Virginia. His lawyers filed for a dismissal on the basis that the charges extended beyond the scope of Mueller's appointment.

In her ruling on Tuesday, Jackson expressed no such qualms about Mueller's authority.

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".

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". Previously Law&Crime speculated that maybe Trump might be waiting to see how the Manafort cases in EDVA and D.C. would shake out before making a decision about speaking to Mueller.

Jackson's ruling also offered support to the Justice Department regulations that gave rise to Mueller's appointment to lead the Russian Federation investigation.

Ellis set a trial date for July 10, but hasn't ruled yet on whether to dismiss.



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