Manafort Trial Is to Go Forward, but Judge Warns Mueller to Stay Within Authority
WASHINGTON &mdash A federal judge in Northern Virginia who had sharply criticized the particular counsel&rsquos case against Paul Manafort refused on Tuesday to dismiss the charges, clearing the way for Mr. Manafort to stand trial on charges of economic fraud.
Mr. Manafort, President Trump&rsquos former campaign chairman, has been charged in two jurisdictions with a host of federal crimes as element of the special counsel inquiry into Russia&rsquos influence on the presidential campaign.
In a preliminary hearing final month, Judge T. S. Ellis III challenged the charges of bank fraud and tax evasion against Mr. Manafort, saying he saw no partnership amongst the case just before him and &ldquoanything the particular counsel is authorized to investigate.&rdquo
But in the 31-web page opinion issued on Tuesday, the judge stated that &ldquoupon further overview,&rdquo it was clear to him that the particular counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, had &ldquofollowed the money paid by pro-Russian officials&rdquo to Mr. Manafort &mdash a line of inquiry that fell squarely in his authority.
Judge Ellis continued to express misgivings about unique prosecutors in general, saying that he could only hope that Mr. Mueller did not abuse the powers offered to him. &ldquoAlthough this case will continue, these involved must be sensitive to the danger unleashed when political disagreements are transformed into partisan prosecutions,&rdquo he wrote.
He also wrote, &ldquoTo provide a specific counsel with a large price range and to tell him or her to find crimes permits a unique counsel to pursue his or her targets with out the usual time and spending budget constraints facing ordinary prosecutors, encouraging substantial elements of the public to conclude that the particular counsel is getting deployed as a political weapon.&rdquo
Nonetheless, he decided that Mr. Mueller&rsquos team had stayed within its mandate in investigating tens of millions of dollars in payments to Mr. Manafort, even even though the pattern of monetary fraud laid out by prosecutors began in 2006 and the payments came from political forces in Ukraine. The special counsel&rsquos authorization to investigate &ldquoany hyperlinks&rdquo among the Trump campaign and the Russian government covered the payments to Mr. Manafort from Ukraine&rsquos pro-Russian president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, and his political allies, he ruled.
Following Judge Ellis attacked the prosecution&rsquos case in Could, President Trump praised him as &ldquovery special&rdquo and &ldquohighly respected.&rdquo But Mr. Manafort&rsquos legal challenges so far have fallen short although prosecutors have broadened their cases against him.
A federal judge in Washington revoked Mr. Manafort&rsquos bail this month and ordered him to jail following prosecutors filed new charges of attempted witness tampering.
Published at Tue, 26 Jun 2018 23:23:54 +0000