Judge Upholds Mueller's Authority To Prosecute Manafort For Ukraine Dealings

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington U.S

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.

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.

Third, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had broad authority to "authorize the Special Counsel to investigate not only 'links and/or coordination, ' but also, 'any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.'" So even if the charges against Manafort were not sufficiently tied to Russian Federation, they could still potentially proceed under the remainder of the powers delegated to Mueller.

Manafort's defense filed a motion with U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III stating the release of the information threatened his ability to receive a fair trial.

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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.

But her ruling is even stronger than that.

Jackson said the Manafort prosecution falls squarely within the mandate of Mueller, whose May 2017 appointment order directs him to investigate links or coordination between Russian Federation and people associated with Trump's campaign.

"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. 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".

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Jackson previously had thrown out a civil case Manafort brought challenging Mueller's authority. Her decision Tuesday allows one of two criminal cases against Manafort to proceed.

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.

None of the charges against Manafort involve crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The ruling marks a setback for Mr Manafort, who last month was buoyed when the judge in the Alexandria case aggressively questioned prosecutors about whether their case was overly broad and mused that he believed they were using the charges to get him to turn over dirt on Mr Trump. The judge there is weighing a similar request to dismiss a tax- and bank-fraud case against him.

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