Legal challenges meant to stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller from looking into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections just aren’t working. This past Thursday, a federal judge dismissed a request from Concord Management and Consulting LLC to have the charges Mueller brought against them — including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and interference in the 2016 presidential election — thrown out. The company constitutes some of the “trolls” that sought, during the lead-up to the elections in question, to spread disinformation online to tilt sociopolitical outcomes in the U.S. in Donald Trump’s (and Russia’s) favor.
They’d alleged, in their original request for Judge Dabney Friedrich to dismiss the criminal charges they’re facing, that Mueller’s team hadn’t met the legal burden of proof required for filing the charges in the first place.
Friedrich asserted, however:
‘Concord’s concerns amount to a single attack: that the government has charged Concord based on conduct that is not illegal. But Concord can not escape the fact that the course of deceptive conduct alleged is illegal.’
It was their second attempt to escape accountability before the same judge; they’d previously sought to weasel out of the charges via arguing that Mueller’s appointment and activities themselves were illegal. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had made a similar case at one point in an attempt to evade charges of fraud and political conspiracy, but that case didn’t get anywhere and neither did Concord’s.
Manafort and Concord Management are among an array of interests who have faced charges from Mueller at this point. Manafort was found guilty of financial fraud allegations earlier this year and pleaded guilty to associated conspiracy allegations before facing a second trial.
Concord, meanwhile, although based in Russia, has adopted an American legal team to make its case. Two other Russian companies have been formally indicted, along with 13 Russian individuals.
There are plenty of others, too, who could face charges but haven’t yet, like Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi and even Donald Trump Jr., who’s been reported to be fearing indictment.
As the investigation continues, some targets continue to resist — including Stone associate Andrew Miller, who has adamantly refused questioning and brought yet another legal challenge questioning Mueller’s powers. Concord has joined up with that case, according to Reuters.
The news comes shortly after Stone himself released text conversations he had with former associate Randy Credico about Wikileaks dumps of stolen documents before they actually unfolded. Stone has come under scrutiny for the fashion in which he presented himself as an intermediary between Wikileaks — and its Russian backers — and the Trump team.
Last week, President Donald Trump pushed Attorney General Jeff Sessions out, renewing concerns of obstruction of justice and a presidential attempt to stop the Mueller probe. Responsibility for the probe’s oversight now falls to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has expressed adamant opposition to its very existence in the past, right in line with the president himself.
Just this Thursday morning, the president ranted (with no evidence):
‘The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess… They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want… A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!’
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