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Manafort Sues Mueller, Rosenstein, DOJ

Manafort Sues Mueller, Rosenstein, DOJ
Paul Manafort

By    |   Wednesday, 03 January 2018 03:18 PM

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, special counsel Robert Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday.

The lawsuit alleges that Mueller's Russia investigation has exceeded its scope. He also claimed the DOJ broke the law by bringing Mueller, a former FBI director, on board to spearhead the probe looking at whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Manafort was indicted by Mueller's team in October on money laundering and tax charges, along with his business associate Rick Gates.

Mueller's lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., charges that Mueller's team is supposed to be investigating claims of collusion, not Manafort's past history as a high-earning political consultant.

According to CNN, the lawsuit claims that Rosenstein's directive to appoint Mueller "exceeds the scope of Mr. Rosenstein's authority to appoint special counsel as well as specific restrictions on the scope of such appointments."

An Oct. 27 indictment accuses Manafort and a long-time associate, Rick Gates, of failing to register as agents in the U.S. for political consulting they performed for Ukraine and for pro-Russian politicians there. They also are accused of conspiring to launder money. Prosecutors charge that Manafort laundered money from overseas to buy houses, cars, clothes, antiques and landscaping services. He also is accused of hiding offshore accounts. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

While Mueller's mandate is to pursue "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation," his prosecutors acted improperly by building a case that had nothing to do with Russian meddling, according to the complaint filed in Washington.

"The investigation of Mr. Manafort is completely unmoored from the special counsel's original jurisdiction," Manafort’s lawyers said in the complaint, which seeks to invalidate "all actions" by Mueller against Manafort.

Manafort filed his suit after weeks of mounting assaults by many Republicans and conservative media of Mueller and members of his team, attacking them as unfair and biased.

Mueller's spokesman, Peter Carr, said he hadn’t seen the filing and declined to comment. "The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Manafort's case appears to be a longshot, said Solomon Wisenberg, a Washington white collar criminal defense lawyer who worked under Whitewater probe Independent Counsel Ken Starr during the Clinton administration. The political consultant’s case is "an uphill battle that’s unlikely to succeed," Wisenberg said.

The lawsuit claims Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy U.S. Attorney General who is overseeing the investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, violated the Administrative Procedures Act. They failed to follow the special counsel rules before a grand jury indicted Manafort with money laundering and conspiracy, according to the suit.

The government’s Oct. 27 indictment accuses Manafort and a longtime associate, Rick Gates, of failing to register as agents in the U.S. for political consulting they performed for Ukraine and for pro-Russian politicians there. It claims Manafort laundered money from overseas to buy houses, cars, clothes, antiques and landscaping services. He also is accused of hiding offshore accounts. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Manafort, 68, who advised Republican presidential candidates in the 1970s and ’80s, later moved into lobbying and political consulting, working with foreign leaders to ingratiate themselves with Washington. His roster of clients, some with unsavory reputations, included deposed Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In his complaint, Manafort said he met voluntarily with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department on July 30, 2014, and provided detailed explanation of his activities in Ukraine, including his frequent contact with U.S. diplomats in Kiev "and his efforts to further U.S. objectives in Ukraine on their behalf."

The indictment charges Manafort with the “very conduct he voluntarily disclosed” three years before Mueller’s appointment, the complaint says.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). Manafort’s civil suit is Manafort v. U.S. Department of Justice, 18-cv-11, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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Paul Manafort, the indicted former campaign chairman of President Donald Trump, filed a lawsuit against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the deputy attorney general who appointed him, Rod Rosenstein. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington, also names...
manafort, mueller, rosenstein, doj, lawsuit
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2018-18-03
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 03:18 PM
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