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

Yevgeny Prigozhin controls the company indicted on charges of conspiring to get Donald Trump elected.     Source Getty

Yevgeny Prigozhin controls the company indicted on charges of conspiring to get Donald Trump elected. Source Getty

In response to these charges, Manafort claimed that he could not be prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because the particular charges against him are outside of Mueller's properly delegated authority.

"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", the ruling said.

Tuesday's opinion by Jackson was issued days after both sides argued a similar set of issues to dismiss charges before US District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria.

Manafort didn't object to the grant of authority to investigate links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

A Russian company accused by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of funding a propaganda operation to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election is asking a federal judge for access to secret information reviewed by a grand jury before it indicted the firm.

Following the release of Jackson's opinion, Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, said, "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter".

Manafort had argued that Mueller has exceeded his investigatory authority and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's directive for Mueller to pursue "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation" fell outside the scope of Justice Department regulations on special counsels.

Jackson was not moved by any of Manafort's assertions. "More important, the Acting Attorney General has confirmed in writing that he assigned the Special Counsel the specific responsibility to investigate the very allegations that comprise the Superseding Indictment", the ruling continued.

To be clear, nothing in Jackson's decision is especially surprising - Manafort's challenge to Mueller's authority was always a long shot that was unlikely to prevail.

Previously, Manafort was charged with a litany of formal accusations that are primarily related to his alleged efforts to submit false tax returns, failure to file reports about foreign bank accounts, and commit bank fraud. It also accuses him of fraudulently obtaining millions in loans from financial institutions including while he worked for the Trump campaign.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Trump's campaign. "For all of these reasons, the motion to dismiss is denied".

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