"The Special Counsel was authorized from the start to investigate the defendant not only for coordinating with the Russian government, but also for violations of law arising out of payments received from the former President of Ukraine", the document said Tuesday. A spokesman for the Special Counsel declined to comment. Manafort is also facing charges of bank fraud in Virginia. In his bid to dismiss the indictment, Downing took aim at a portion of an order establishing Mueller's office that gave the special counsel the power to probe "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".
The charges against him include conspiring to launder money, conspiring to defraud the United States, and failing to register as a lobbyist for a foreign government.
Second, even if Mueller had exceeded his authority, the regulations governing appointments of special counsel provide that they "are not meant to, do not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity, by any person or entity, in any matter, civil, criminal, or administrative".
Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Trump's campaign. Ellis expressed his skepticism at a previous hearing that Mueller's current investigation into Russian coordination during the 2016 campaign would connect to Manafort's lobbying activities years before the Trump campaign existed. Previously Law&Crime speculated that maybe Trump might be waiting to see how the Manafort cases in EDVA and D.C. would shake out before making a decision about speaking to Mueller. And Donald Trump cited them in a speech to the National Rifle Association to claim that Mueller's indictment is a "phony Russian Federation witch hunt".
"Manafort was, at one time, not merely 'associated with, ' but the chairman of, the presidential campaign, and his work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record", she wrote, adding that it was "logical" for investigators to probe Mr Manafort's dealings.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia. Manafort has asked a different federal judge there to dismiss his case on similar grounds.
In her 37-page ruling, Jackson went through a point-by-point rejection of Manafort's arguments, including his contention that Mueller had been given a "blank check" to investigate anything "he may stumble across".
Giuliani himself mentioned Judge T.S. Ellis' remarks in a BuzzFeed News interview.
Manafort's attorneys had argued the special counsel was taking too broad a view of its powers. Judge Amy Berman Jackson clearly didn't not have the same issues when Manafort and his legal team questioned the scope of Mueller's authority in the case against Manafort in D.C.