May 15, 2018, 7:28 PM ET

Judge throws out Manafort’s latest attempt to block Mueller

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Paul Manafort’s latest request to have one of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments against him thrown out was shot down Tuesday when a federal judge in Washington rejected the former Trump campaign chairman’s claim that the special counsel’s investigative mandate is too broad.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson roundly rejected Manafort’s motion to dismiss the special counsel’s indictment, citing several examples of legal rectitude for Mueller’s aggressive investigation of Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“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 on Tuesday.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on Jackson’s memorandum opinion.

Manafort, 69, was indicted and pleaded not guilty in two criminal cases brought by the special counsel related to charges of money laundering and tax evasion, among other things.

Trump’s former campaign chairman has mounted multiple legal challenges to the criminal cases against him in Washington, D.C., and Virginia by arguing that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller had exceeded their authority to investigate and charge him.

“The case did not arise in a vacuum, and the special counsel did not create his own job description,” Jackson wrote on Tuesday in defense of Mueller.

PHOTO: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks to the media with an announcement that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington.Jacquelyn Martin/AP, FILE
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks to the media with an announcement that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington.

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.

“None of it had any relation to the campaign,” Ellis said during the April 4 hearing.

Later that day, Trump praised Judge Ellis as “really something very special...he's a respected person" during his address to the National Rifle Association.

Jackson, in her Tuesday memorandum opinion, appeared to push back on Ellis’ skepticism of the special counsel’s broad mandate, arguing that Rosenstein granted Mueller the power to investigate “any matters that arose” from his immediate probe of Russian meddling.

“Even if a judge were to conclude that the regulations could give rise to rights that can be enforced in a courtroom,” Judge Jackson wrote in her memorandum, “the Acting Attorney General did not violate those regulations when he exercised his statutory 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.’”

Manafort’s trial in Virginia is scheduled to begin on July 10, and his Washington, D.C., trial is slated for September.

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  • J P

    I can't wait until Avenetti deposes Trump! Fire and fury!

  • thebobbob

    Manafort was the Kremlin's man in the Campaign. Donnie is the Kremlin's man in the White House. Busted!

  • Bill Toone

    There two kinds of businessmen. One kind likes for their customers to get a fair deal. And likes repeat business. The other kind expects to double their money every day, screw the customers, need new customers. These guys are all the latter.

  • Bill Toone

    "Yes, I'm a criminal, but I should get off on a technicality."

  • Youcan'thandlethetruth

    Manafort strikes out AGAIN!

  • Blue Wave

    So I wonder where all of the Trump supporters that were gleefully dancing in the streets when Judge Ellis "scolded" the Manafort's prosecution team now that Judge Jackson "course-corrected" Judge Ellis and said nothing was done wrong.

  • Erwin Schrodinger

    Seems like a pretty obvious interpretation of the mandate of the Special Counsel.

  • kritikosman

    Yay!!

  • JohnC

    When Manafort runs out of pre-trial appeals then what will he do? Will he go to trial in a case with so much evidence against him? Will he flip? Will he request witness protection?

  • YouMayBanMeButYouCan'tBanIdeas

    It is truly a sad period in American history when the word of a porn star and her lawyer is far more believable than that of the president of the United States. Likewise, the word of anyone associated with Trump is automatically untrustworthy, particular when they are attempting to suppress a lawful investigation into their criminal dealings.

  • IT-Worker-Since-1990

    Another day, another smack down to a member of Trump's cesspool.

    When you are trying to have charges thrown out based upon legal theories such as this, it means you know you are guilty and are trying to find a way to escape. That is what is going on here and with Trump.

    If Trump was innocent, wouldn't he be wanting the investigation to be complete so it vindicates him? He is afraid of the skeletons in his closet and knows that Mueller is finding them. THAT is why he wants the Investigation ended.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Manafort is trying to gut this out. He "trusts" that there will be a pardon if it goes sour.
    I believe in Leprechauns.

  • paul miller

    Have fun in jail Paul

  • old003

    No surprise here. The " judge" is corrupt.