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Robert Mueller had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort: judge

Robert Mueller had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort: judge

Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's attempt to invalidate the criminal case against him in Washington.

In a sharp rebuke of those claims, judge Amy Berman Jackson of USA district court for the District of Columbia ruled that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had followed all the justice department's rules when he hired Mr Mueller and the case against Mr Manafort is not overly broad or improper.

Jackson said the Manafort prosecution falls squarely within the mandate of Mueller, whose May 2017 appointment order directs him to investigate links or coordination between Russian Federation and people associated with Trump's campaign. "But the indictment will not be dismissed, and the matter will proceed to trial", Berman Jackson wrote in her opinion Tuesday. In Virginia, he faces charges that include bank fraud and filing false tax returns. Judge Amy Berman Jackson clearly didn't not have the same issues when Manafort and his legal team questioned the scope of Mueller's authority in the case against Manafort in D.C. Manafort's motion to dismiss the case Mueller brought against him in Virginia is still pending.

In response to the ruling, Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said: "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter".

"None of it had any relation to the campaign", Ellis said during the April 4 hearing. "He was appointed to take over an existing investigation, and it appears from the chronology and the written record that the matters contained in the superseding indictment were already a part of the ongoing inquiry that was lawfully transferred to the special counsel by the Department of Justice in May of 2017".

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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.

She cited an August 2017 memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that prosecutors had filed in the case.

Jackson was not moved by Manafort's argument that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that his Ukraine dealings predated the 2016 election by at least two years.

But her ruling is even stronger than that.

It said that Mueller should purse allegations that Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials" and that he committed crimes "arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government" before and after the term of President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia. A federal judge has asked skeptical questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's authority to bring charges against former Manafort and suggested prosecutors' true motive is getting Manafort to "sing" against the president.

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