A federal judge refused on Tuesday to dismiss criminal charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, after Manafort claimed that Mueller had exceeded his prosecutorial powers.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia rejected Manafort's argument that the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's authority was overly broad.
"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, '" Jackson wrote.
"[Ellis' comments] have really thrown this into a new dimension if there's a real possibility they [the special counsel's office] don't have authorization", Giuliani said, adding that if Ellis ruled against Mueller, "They're going to have a big problem".
The charges against him in the Washington case include conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States and failing to register as a foreign agent.
Manafort's defense lawyer, former MIller & Chevalier partner Kevin Downing, has stressed that the alleged misconduct predated the 2016 presidential campaign and therefore was outside Mueller's authority.
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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.
"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.
Manafort and his lawyer's had argued Rosenstein acted improperly by appointing Mueller to investigate collusion with Russian Federation and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". And Donald Trump cited them in a speech to the National Rifle Association to claim that Mueller's indictment is a "phony Russian Federation witch hunt". The memo showed Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate Manafort's Ukrainian work and related financial crimes.
Her ruling also pointed to an August 2017 memo by Mr Rosenstein that further detailed the scope of the probe. The judge there is weighing a similar request to dismiss a tax- and bank-fraud case against him.
This is notable because the Trump Administration, including Donald Trump, used Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) Judge T.S. Ellis' pointed line of questioning about Mueller's authority a week and half ago in a separate fraud case to suggest that even a federal judge recognizes that a witch hunt is afoot.