Federal judge just ruled on Paul Manafort's motion to dismiss Mueller charges

Breaking Federal judge just ruled on Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss Mueller charges

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.

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

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.

Citing Manafort's years of work in Ukraine, his prominent role on the Trump campaign and his publicized connections to Russian figures, Jackson said it was "logical and appropriate" for Mueller's team to scrutinize Manafort as part of their investigation into Russian election meddling and possible coordination with Trump associates.

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.

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USA district judge Amy Jackson declined to throw out the case against Manafort, who faces two indictments from the special counsel.

But her ruling is even stronger than that.

The charges before Judge Jackson arise out of Manafort's "lobbying and political consulting activities on behalf of Ukraine, the pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, and the former President of Ukraine who fled to Russian Federation in 2014". In his bid to dismiss the indictment, Downing took aim at a portion of an order establishing Mueller's office that gave the special counsel the power to probe "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". Jackson, in her 36-page opinion, rejected Manafort's claims that the Ukraine business dealings were outside Mueller's scope. And regardless, she wrote, it was clear that Mueller had been specifically authorized to investigate not only Manafort's possible links to Russian Federation but also his Ukrainian business. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, as well as in the charges that included bank fraud and tax fraud that were brought against him in Virginia. It also accuses him of fraudulently obtaining millions in loans from financial institutions including while he worked for the Trump campaign.

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

Manafort, Jackson said, was not merely associated with President Donald Trump's campaign but served as its chairman for a time. Manafort has asked a different federal judge there to dismiss his case on similar grounds.

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