Judge refuses to toss Manafort charges; another judge has yet to rule

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Special counsel Robert Mueller was working within his authority when he brought charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a federal judge in Washington ruled on Wednesday. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said, "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter".

Manafort and his lawyer's had argued Rosenstein acted improperly by appointing Mueller to investigate collusion with Russian Federation and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

Jackson wrote in the 37-page ruling 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".

In her opinion, Jackson rejected those arguments.

Manafort's trial in Virginia is scheduled to begin on July 10, and his Washington, D.C., trial is slated for September.

Jackson said it was "logical and appropriate" for investigators to probe Manafort's dealings with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted by street protests in 2014 and now lives in exile in Russian Federation. "Given what was being said publicly, the Special Counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government", Jackson wrote.

Rosenstein also had authority "to define the Special Counsel's charter broadly", and explicitly confirmed Mueller's authority to investigate Manafort's Ukrainian work in an August 2017 memo, she found.

"This is exactly what the Department of Justice regulations contemplate".

Jackson was not moved by any of Manafort's assertions. So Manafort has no right to challenge an alleged violation of those regulations.

The ruling marks a setback for Manafort, who last month was buoyed when the judge in the Alexandria case aggressively questioned prosecutors about whether their case was overly broad and mused that he believed they were using the charges to get Manafort to turn over dirt on Trump. In addition to the Washington indictment, Manafort also faces charges in Virginia of bank fraud and tax evasion.

Ellis, a 1987 Reagan appointee, said the special counsel still may well have the authority to bring the charges, adding at one point, "I'm not saying it's illegitimate".

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