Judge: Special counsel had authority to prosecute Paul Manafort

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A spokesman for Manafort did not have any immediate comment on the ruling, and a spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.

Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump administration appointee, will hold the first face-to-face hearing in the case Wednesday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Jackson said Manafort's indictment on charges of money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent in connection with his work for Ukraine "falls squarely" within the authority to investigate Russian influence-the grant of authority that Manafort had not challenged.

Manafort's attorneys have argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acted improperly when he appointed Mueller in May 2017 to investigate not only collusion with Russian Federation but any other issues that "may arise" from that investigation.

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

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In the Virginia courthouse, Ellis sharply questioned prosecutors about their motivations and whether they had exceeded their charging authority to pressure Manafort to turn against Trump or colleagues. He has also argued that Mueller's case against him has nothing to do with Russian interference in 2016 election, and that the probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into his Ukraine dealings predates the Russia probe. 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".

Jackson added it was "logical and appropriate" for investigators tasked with pursuing any links to the Russian Federation investigation to direct their attention toward Manafort, due to his role in Trump's campaign.

Her ruling also pointed to an August 2017 memo by Rosenstein that further detailed the scope of the probe.

Jackson was not moved by Manafort's argument that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that his Ukraine dealings predated the 2016 election by at least two years.

Manafort's defense team argued Mueller didn't have the authority to file certain charges. "For all of these reasons, the motion to dismiss is denied".

He told prosecutors to turn over a copy to him by Friday.

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