Judge rules Mueller has authority to prosecute former Trump campaign chairman Manafort

Judge rules Mueller has authority to prosecute former Trump campaign chairman Manafort

Judge rules Mueller has authority to prosecute former Trump campaign chairman Manafort

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.

"Given what was being said publicly, the special counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", Jackson wrote.

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".

Manafort's lawyers' previous push for dismissal hinged on the argument that because the crimes in question do not directly relate to Mueller's core mandate - investigating whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow - he was not authorized to charge Manafort with them. Previously Law&Crime speculated that maybe Trump might be waiting to see how the Manafort cases in EDVA and D.C. would shake out before making a decision about speaking to Mueller.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, faces an array of criminal charges in two different federal courts, including money laundering charges and allegations that he worked as an unregistered agent for the Ukrainian government.

Earlier this month, Judge T.S. Ellis, a federal judge in Virginia, questioned the scope of Mueller's investigation, at times warning against "unfettered power" and calling attention to the fact that charges against Manafort predate his time on the Trump campaign.

The judge noted Manafort's possible ties to Russia were cited in the media, and that he had done business with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who had ties to President Vladimir Putin.

In her ruling on Tuesday, Jackson expressed no such qualms about Mueller's authority.

Manafort's attorneys had argued the special counsel was taking too broad a view of its powers.

"Manafort complains that the appointment order 'purports to give the special counsel jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute anything else he might discover during the course of the original investigation", Jackson wrote, "but that is not what the order says".

She defended the actions of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation and appointed Mueller after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

That judge, TS Ellis III for the eastern district of Virginia, has yet to rule on whether to dismiss the charges against Mr Manafort. "Thus, the indictment falls well within the authority granted to the special counsel to conduct the ongoing investigation".

He said Mueller didn't care about Manafort's alleged bank and tax fraud and wanted to use Manafort as a vehicle to get to Trump. But Ellis also suggested that if he ruled in Manafort's favor, the case could simply be returned to the USA attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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