By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was dealt a major loss on Tuesday when a federal judge who had previously expressed some sympathy for Manafort refused to dismiss charges brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Judge T.S. Ellis in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that Mueller was properly appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017 and has the authority to prosecute Manafort.
"Because the Special Counsel’s appointment was consistent with both Constitutional requirements regarding appointment of officers and statutory requirements governing the authority to conduct criminal litigation on behalf of the United States, the Special Counsel had legal authority to investigate and to prosecute this matter and dismissal of the superseding indictment is not warranted," Ellis wrote in his opinion.
Manafort is facing two indictments in Washington and nearby Alexandria, Virginia, arising from Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
His Virginia trial starts in July and his Washington trial is scheduled for September.
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiring to launder money, bank and tax fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent for the pro-Russia Ukraine government.
He has been held in a jail in Virginia since the federal judge overseeing the Washington case revoked his bond on June 15, after prosecutors presented evidence during a court hearing about Manafort’s alleged efforts to influence witnesses’ testimony while he was under house arrest.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown)
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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2018 03:06 AM