Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Robert Mueller had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort: judge

Robert Mueller had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort: judge

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".

Judge Jackson was not moved by any of Mr Manafort's assertions.

Beyond investigating links between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign, Mueller is also charged with pursuing "any matter that arose or may arise directly" from his collusion probe.

Judge Jackson previously dismissed a civil case Manafort filed against Mueller, in which Manafort's attorneys argued that the scope of Mueller's investigation was too broad.

Mueller is also charged with pursuing "any matter that arose or may arise directly" from his collusion probe. "But the indictment will not be dismissed, and the matter will proceed to trial", Berman Jackson wrote in her opinion Tuesday. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

He faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia, for a trial set to begin in July. Manafort's motion to dismiss the case Mueller brought against him in Virginia is still pending.

"None of it had any relation to the campaign", Ellis said during the April 4 hearing.

"Given what was being said publicly, the Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", Jackson wrote.

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She added said that it appeared, nonetheless, that Mueller had followed those regulations.

Jackson said the regulations are not meant to allow investigation targets to use them to challenge criminal, but are intended to provide independence and accountability in sensitive investigations, giving a special counsel wide discretion while requiring department consultation and approval, which she said was done. "Thus, the indictment falls well within the authority granted to the special counsel to conduct the ongoing investigation".

"What they address is who decides who the prosecutor will be", she said.

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

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.

The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria), and U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). She cited not only the May 2017 appointment order, but also an August 2, 2017, memo by Rosenstein that further detailed the responsibility given to Mueller.

Deputy Solicitor General Michael R. Dreeben had defended the investigation, arguing last month in the District that prosecutors would naturally want to scrutinize Manafort's long-standing ties to Russian-backed politicians, financiers and others and whether any served as "back channels to Russia".

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