Judge refuses to dismiss ex-Trump aide Manafort's criminal case

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2018

The ruling is in response to a civil case brought by Manafort, who has argued Mueller exceeded his authority because the case against him was unrelated to Russian election interference.

Manafort and his lawyer's had argued Rosenstein acted improperly by appointing Mueller to investigate collusion with Russian Federation and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

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.

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.


Rosenstein "expressly approved the Special Counsel's investigation of the facts alleged in the indictment, so there has been no violation of the regulations, and the Special Counsel did not act without authority", she wrote.

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.

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.

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. Manafort was the campaign's chairman, and "his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record". Manafort's motion to dismiss the case Mueller brought against him in Virginia is still pending.


The decision allows one of two criminal cases against Manafort to proceed.

"It bears emphasizing at this stage that Manafort is presumed to be innocent of these charges", Jackson said. Nevertheless, Manafort's claims seemed to take on a new life earlier this month when Judge T.S. Ellis, the judge hearing the remaining charges against Mueller, asked some skeptical questions about Mueller's authority during a recent hearing.

In addition to the Washington indictment, Manafort also faces charges in Virginia of bank fraud and tax evasion.

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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