A federal judge on Thursday ruled that US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against a Russian firm accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential race can move forward.
This ruling follows Concord Management and Consulting, LLC’s (Concord) indictment back in February. Concord was charged with conspiring to defraud the United States by funding an organization that entered the country under false pretenses to gather intelligence, created fake social media accounts to disseminate divisive messages, and staged political rallies to sway the outcome of the 2016 election in then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s favor.
The indictment stated that federal law prohibits foreign agents from participating in US politics without registering with the Department of Justice and reporting any expenditures to the Federal Election Commission.
The company filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges in July, arguing that their failure to report or register cannot be considered because the indictment is too vague and failure to report or register generally only has criminal penalties if it is done willfully.
US District Judge Dabney Friedrich disagreed. She wrote:
Both arguments are unpersuasive. First, the indictment need not provide a detailed account of the manner and means the defendants used in accomplishing the object of the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the defendants agreed to a course of conduct that would violate FECA and FARA’s disclosure requirements and provides specifies examples of the kinds of expenditures and activities that required disclosure. At this stage, that is more than enough.
This is the second time Friedrich denied Concord’s motion to dismiss.