A Judge Just Dismissed Paul Manafort's Lawsuit Challenging Mueller's Appointment

A Judge Just Dismissed Paul Manafort's Lawsuit Challenging Mueller's Appointment

A Judge Just Dismissed Paul Manafort's Lawsuit Challenging Mueller's Appointment

A federal judge on Friday tossed out former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's lawsuit challenging the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is also presiding over Manafort's criminal case in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, wrote in Friday's opinion that a civil lawsuit "is not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future".

In particular, Manafort's attorneys pointed to an August memo that Rosenstein sent Mueller as evidence that Rosenstein "got something wrong" when he tapped Mueller to oversee the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation to influence the outcome.

Mr. Manafort is facing dozens of charges of money laundering, bank fraud, tax evasion and failing to register as a foreign agent in connection to work he did for years on behalf of Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine who was an ally of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russian Federation.

Manafort's attorneys had at first asked the judge to void Mueller's appointment and dismiss all indictments against Manafort already filed in the District and Virginia, contending Mueller had overstepped his authority. Instead, she focused on whether he could bring a civil lawsuit raising those arguments and seeking future-looking relief at all. In dismissing the suit, Jackson said it's not presently clear what future actions Mueller will take with Manafort.

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Rosenstein took over the special counsel investigation previous year after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from matters related to the President Donald Trump campaign.

Rather than allowing defendants to skirt the process, courts typically require defendants to challenge the legality of charges or indictments through pretrial motions in criminal cases or post-trial appeals, the judge ruled.

Jackson did not reach the merits of Manafort's claim about the legitimacy of Mueller's appointment, saying that any such attack could be addressed in Manafort's criminal cases. In addition, Manafort is also being prosecuted for his failure "to register as a foreign agent in connection to work he did" for the former president of Ukraine, Viktor F. Yanukovych, who is known to be a close associate of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russian Federation.

The hearing came just days after Mueller's team defended its authority by releasing a copy, with portions blacked-out, of a classified Justice Department memorandum issued in August 2017.

The portions of the memo were made public in a court filing that responded to Manafort's motion to dismiss his criminal case in Washington, which is also before Jackson.

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