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Mueller opposes Manafort's request for hearing on leaks
16 May 2018, 06:33 | Opal Carroll
Judge Slaps Down Paul Manafort's Challenge to Mueller Indictment: 'Falls Squarely' Within His Authority
A federal district court judge on Tuesday rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's request to toss out five criminal charges against him in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's Russian Federation investigation.
The decision was a setback for Paul Manafort in his defense against charges of money-laundering conspiracy, false statements and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.
USA prosecutors said in a filing on Monday that defense attorneys had failed to provide evidence that news reports about Mueller's investigation of Manafort were based on matters before a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, that indicted him in February on tax- and bank-fraud charges.
"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. "She goes on to say: "[Even] if one posits that the scrutiny of Manafort's alleged activities on behalf of Ukraine did not flow from the investigation of "links" to Russian Federation that was assigned to the Special Counsel, and that instead, it was a "matter that arose" from that investigation, the indictment should not be dismissed".
Berman Jackson previously dismissed a civil lawsuit Manafort had attempted to use to undercut Mueller's authority.
None of the charges against Manafort involve crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Later in the opinion, the judge clearly says that it was squarely within Mueller's scope to pursue Manafort's links to Russian Federation.
"When it promulgated the regulations, the department anticipated that a special counsel, like any other prosecutor, could become aware of, and could have legitimate reasons to explore, paths that branch out naturally from the original investigation, as well as entirely new and disconnected allegations", Jackson wrote.
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. Jackson, in her 36-page opinion, rejected Manafort's claims that the Ukraine business dealings were outside Mueller's scope. Manafort is also facing charges of bank fraud in Virginia. 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. The Virginia federal judge, TS Ellis, has not yet ruled on the question.
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