Judge Denies Manafort's Motion to Dismiss Charges in Russia Probe

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He has also argued that Mr Mueller's case against him has nothing to do with Russian interference in 2016 election, and that the probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into his Ukraine dealings predates the Russia probe.

In both criminal cases, Mr Manafort has asked the courts to dismiss the charges on the grounds that Mr Rosenstein's May 17, 2017 appointment order hiring the special counsel runs afoul of justice department rules on special counsels.

A federal judge in Washington DC is proceeding with the criminal case brought forward by special counsel Robert Mueller, regarding Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.

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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"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.

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

"Manafort was, at one time, not merely 'associated with, ' but the chairman of, the presidential campaign, and his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record", she wrote. It was logical and appropriate for investigators tasked with the investigation of "any links" between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign to direct their attention to him.

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. Additionally, Rosenstein "confirmed in writing that he assigned the Special Counsel the specific responsibility to investigate the very allegations that comprise the" challenged indictment.

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Jackson said the case against Manafort should proceed even if scrutiny of his past activity came about not from the investigation of "links" to Russian but rather as a "matter that arose" from that probe.

Manafort has filed a similar motion to dismiss his charges in Virginia.

Manafort also faces a separate set of bank fraud and other financial charges in Virginia. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has yet to rule on it. Ellis had previously grilled Mueller's team on whether the case was within his mandate and questioned whether they brought the case to get Manafort to testify against Trump.

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