Monday, 18 June, 2018

Judge: Special counsel had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort

Welcome Back My Friends to the Probe That Never Ends US Judge Refuses to Dismiss Ex-Trump Aide Paul Manafort's Criminal Case
Kenny Thornton | 16 May, 2018, 06:28

Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a federal judge to reject a request by Paul Manafort, the indicted former Trump campaign chairman, for a hearing to determine whether government officials improperly leaked secret grand-jury information to the news media.

"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.

In response to the ruling, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said: "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter".

Photo/Andrew HarnikPaul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, departs Federal District Court, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Washington.

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 faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia, for a trial set to begin in July.

So the charges in Jackson's courtroom will proceed against Manafort, and they will be prosecuted by Robert Mueller. "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".

Trump administration hits Iran's central bank with terror sanctions
At the time, the U.S. singled out the Central Bank of Iran as "complicit" in the operation, foreshadowing Tuesday's action. Though it's uncommon to sanction central financial institution officers, the USA has carried out it earlier than.

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

Prosecutors also gave the judge a secret filing with additional information about one of the articles cited by Manafort, but didn't specify which article or why it needed to be withheld from Manafort's defense.

"First, the indictment falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel that Manafort finds unobjectionable: the order to investigate 'any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign, '" she continued.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his lobbying work for Ukrainian politicians dating back to a decade ago. In that case, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis of the Eastern District of Virginia expressed skepticism earlier this month of the scope of Mueller's authority.

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

Judge Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by Republican president Ronald Reagan, has also said he too wants to see an unredacted copy before he can fully form a decision on whether to dismiss the charges.

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