Paul Manafort's Lawsuit Against Mueller Thrown Out By Federal Judge

Manafort loses effort to challenge Mueller's authority

Drew Angerer Getty Images Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington D.C. on Feb. 28 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has lost his last-ditch bid to derail special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In her 24-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who also presides in one of Manafort's criminal cases, rejected his request for an order protecting him from future prosecutions by Mueller's team.

Separate from the criminal cases against him, Manafort had sued the US Department of Justice and Mueller in January, arguing that Mueller's appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was too broad.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May; the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign meant Rosenstein took over responsibility for the Russian Federation investigation.

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Read the whole decision at this link.

Manafort separately has moved to dismiss criminal charges in the District ahead of a scheduled September trial date there and in federal court in Alexandria, where he faces trial July 10 on tax-related and banking charges to which he also has pleaded not guilty.

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to his work as an worldwide political consultant in Ukraine before joining Trump's campaign in March 2016.

Manafort served as Trump's campaign chairman from March to August in 2016.

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The Justice Department had asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The judge said that Mr. Manafort's suit, which argued that the special counsel had exceeded his authorities by investigating Mr. Manafort's past business dealings in Ukraine, was "not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future".

Nearly three months after appointing Mueller, Rosenstein sent a memo to Mueller authorizing him to investigate specific allegations related to Manafort, including but not limited to his Ukraine lobbying work and possible collusion with Russian Federation. She cited earlier federal appeals court rulings that found that the subject of a criminal investigation could not bring a civil lawsuit to try to stop possible future charges.

She added that if Manafort's concerns would be more appropriately brought in a criminal case. But his lawyer later scaled back the relief being sought, saying he only wanted to prevent future charges from being filed against Manafort. Manafort called for the court to declare Mueller's appointment "invalid" and for Mueller's actions as special counsel to be set aside.

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