United States v. Manafort

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ____________________________________ ) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ) ) v. ) Crim. Action No. 17-0201-01 (ABJ) ) PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., ) ) Defendant. ) ____________________________________) MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER On May 17, 2017, the Acting Attorney General of the United States appointed Robert S. Mueller III to serve as Special Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice. 1 Paragraph (b) of the Appointment Order authorized him “to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017,” including: (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a). 2 As part of the Special Counsel’s investigation, defendant Paul J. Manafort, Jr. was indicted on a number of charges relating to his lobbying and political consulting activities on behalf of Ukraine, 1 Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters, Ex. A to Government’s Resp. in Opp. to Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss Superseding Indictment [Dkt. # 244-1] (“Appointment Order” or “Appt. Order”) ¶ (b). 2 The “other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)” include “federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury [and] obstruction of justice.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a). 1 the pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, and the former President of Ukraine who fled to Russia in 2014. See Indictment (Redacted) [Dkt. # 13]; Superseding Indictment [Dkt. # 201]. Defendant Manafort has moved to dismiss the Superseding Indictment. 3 He contends that when the Acting Attorney General issued the Appointment Order, he exceeded limits imposed on his appointment authority by the Department of Justice Special Counsel Regulations, and that therefore, the Appointment Order, and the acts undertaken by the Special Counsel under its auspices, are invalid. Manafort also argues that even if the appointment was valid, the Special Counsel overstepped the authority he was granted when he investigated and prosecuted the particular charges in this case. It is important to note that Manafort does not challenge the entire Appointment Order; he objects only to paragraph (b)(ii), the grant of authority to pursue “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” which he claims is too broad. Thus, as Manafort acknowledges, his motion does not support the dismissal of any charges if they were properly brought under paragraphs (b)(i) or (iii) of the Appointment Order. See Tr. of Apr. 19, 2018 Mot. Hr’g [Dkt. # 281] (“Tr.”) at 8–9. The motion to dismiss will be denied for a number of reasons. First, 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 ...

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