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Judge rejects Manafort's effort to dismiss case

Judge rejects Manafort's effort to dismiss case

A federal judge dealt president Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort a major blow on Tuesday by refusing to dismiss criminal charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, after Mr Manafort claimed that the probe has run amok and should be reined in.

"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.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel's office, declined to comment.

Mr Rosenstein "expressly approved the special counsel's investigation of the facts alleged in the indictment, so there has been no violation of the regulations, and the special counsel did not act without authority", wrote judge Jackson, who was appointed by Democratic president Barack Obama.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Trump's campaign.

Manafort is facing separate fraud charges in Alexandria, Virginia, federal court. On May 4, Ellis ordered Mueller's prosecutors two weeks to provide "completely unredacted versions of [Deputy Attorney General] Rosenstein's orders assigning special counsel Mueller" before he would make a decision on keeping the Manafort indictment or dismissing it. Ellis expressed his skepticism at a previous hearing that Mueller's current investigation into Russian coordination during the 2016 campaign would connect to Manafort's lobbying activities years before the Trump campaign existed. Berman Jackson wrote. "Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest".




This means that the criminal case against Manafort in Washington D.C. can move forward.

So the charges in Jackson's courtroom will proceed against Manafort, and they will be prosecuted by Robert Mueller. 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".

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

Giuliani himself mentioned Judge T.S. Ellis' remarks in a BuzzFeed News interview.

That judge, TS Ellis III for the eastern district of Virginia, has yet to rule on whether to dismiss the charges against Mr Manafort.

This reading constitutes a grant of wide authority to Mueller's team, suggesting that any other attempts to challenge his jurisdiction will face significant hurdles.

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