Judge in Manafort case pushes back on prosecutors

Judge challenges Mueller's actions in Manafort case

Judge challenges Mueller's actions in Manafort case

A United States federal judge considering Robert Mueller's accusations against Manafort, stated Friday that the Special Counsel should not have absolute power to prosecute the President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, MSNBC reported.

Ellis withheld ruling on the motion and will issue a written ruling at a later date.

Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty to all counts in both indictments, which stem from his work for a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine.

The judge also directly challenged the scope of Mueller's probe, which has been questioned by not only Manafort's attorneys but Trump and many Republican lawmakers. "You really care about what information he might give you about Mr. Trump and what might lead to his impeachment or prosecution".

The Virginia indictment alleges Manafort hid tens of millions of dollars he earned advising pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine from the Internal Revenue Service, all occurring years before Donald Trump ran for president. He pointed to an August 2 memo that said Manafort may have "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials" to interfere in the election, and that he illegally handled payments he got from the pro-Russian Ukrainian government.

Manafort appeared in court early Friday to seek the dismissal of the charges outlined in the Virginia indictment.

"But he's out there fighting on fake news CNN - I think NBC may be more distorted and worse but - no, but on cnn they have a headline 'Judge in Manafort Case Says Mueller's Aim Is to Hurt Trump'".

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That challenge led Mueller's team to include a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe following Attorney General Jeff Sessions's recusal previous year. Manafort's team won't have access to the unredacted version of the memo.

He added that he does not expect Ellis to use Mueller's motivation in bringing charges as the basis of any decision he makes, but that if he does, "he will be reversed". Ellis said. "Tell me how".

"I don't see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate", Ellis said, according to Reuters. He worked for me for a very short period of time. The special counsel has kept some of its power a secret for national security reasons.

He summed up the Special Counsel's Office as, "We said this was what [the] investigation was about, but we are not bound by it and we were lying".

Echoing Cramer's view that prosecutors build cases all the time against powerful figures by prosecuting lower-level actors who then cooperate, Whiting said "most people would agree that's what we want prosecutors to do: focus their work on higher-level criminal actors".

The judge's questions suggested he was impatient with Breeden and the three prosecutors sitting at the table.

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

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