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Federal judge refuses to dismiss Manafort indictment

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday denied [opinion, PDF] Paul Manfort's request to dismiss indictments against him that arose out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's [official website] investigation..

Manafort had called for the dismissal of the indictment arguing that the indictment exceeded the limits on the Special Counsel's authority to issue appointments and exceeded his authority to investigate the charges. Specifically, Manafort stated that paragraph (b)(ii) of the appointment order, which authorizes the pursuit of "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation," is too broad.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that 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.'" Therefore, the investigation did not arise out of paragraph (b)(ii) of the Appointment Order and should not be dismissed.

The court went on to state that even if the investigation did arise out of paragraph (b)(ii), it should still not be dismissed because the Justice Department's Special Counsel regulations do not create substantive rights for those under investigation. Even if it did create substantive rights, Jackson said that no substantive rights were violated because the Attorney General had the authority to define the breadth of the Special Counsel's investigation as broadly or narrowly as needed.

Manafort was charged [JURIST report] in October with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements, conspiracy against the US and other charges. Manafort filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the Department of Justice in January stating that the appointment of Mueller was overly broad and exceeded their authority.

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