World News

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

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

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.

Paul Manafort has struck out again in his efforts to get Special Counsel Robert Mueller's case against him thrown out or curtailed on the basis that Mueller's investigation was improper.

But Berman Jackson concluded for several reasons that Mueller's investigation and prosecution of Manafort is legal - and that the special counsel still can maintain some independence while working within the Department of Justice.

And regardless, she wrote, it was clear that Mueller had been specifically authorized to investigate not only Manafort's possible links to Russian Federation but also his Ukrainian business.

Manafort asked to dismiss charges related to his lobbying and political consulting activities, the court filing said. Jackson refused to dismiss that criminal case.

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"Who had connections to 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". "It was logical and appropriate for investigators tasked with the investigation of "any links" between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign to direct their attention to him".

This is notable because the Trump Administration, including Donald Trump, used Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) Judge T.S. Ellis' pointed line of questioning about Mueller's authority a week and half ago in a separate fraud case to suggest that even a federal judge recognizes that a witch hunt is afoot. His trial is scheduled to start September 17. The Virginia federal judge, TS Ellis, has not yet ruled on the question. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, as well as in the charges that included bank fraud and tax fraud that were brought against him in Virginia.

"Manafort's civil case will be dismissed", United States District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in the order.

In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's other arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".


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