USA judge greenlights Paul Manafort case to go forward

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On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., denied the defense's motion to dismiss some of the charges.

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.

"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, '" Jackson wrote.

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".

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, none of which are directly related to work he performed for Trump's campaign.

President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani has warned Robert Mueller that the Trump team will wage a campaign to end the Special Counsel's Russian Federation investigation on its one-year anniversary, with several plans up their sleeve.

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Earlier this month, Judge T.S. Ellis, a federal judge in Virginia, questioned the scope of Mueller's investigation, at times warning against "unfettered power" and calling attention to the fact that charges against Manafort predate his time on the Trump campaign.

The special counsel's office declined to comment on Jackson's memorandum opinion.

"His work on behalf of the Russia-backed Ukrainian political party and connections to other Russian figures are matters of public record", Jackson wrote.

"Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest", the ruling said. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said, "Paul Manafort maintains his innocence and looks forward to prevailing in this matter".

Jackson said the regulations are not meant to allow investigation targets to use them to challenge criminal, but are intended to provide independence and accountability in sensitive investigations, giving a special counsel wide discretion while requiring department consultation and approval, which she said was done. 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".

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