by WorldTribune Staff, January 4, 2018
An attorney for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit against special prosecutor Robert Mueller, saying the counsel’s indictment against Manafort was for “dealings that had no connections whatsoever to the 2016 presidential election or even Donald Trump.”
Attorney Kevin Downing, who filed the suit in U.S. District Court, said Mueller was appointed in May 2017 with a mandate to investigate suspected Russia-Trump campaign collusion in the hacking of Democratic Party computers.
The Manafort indictment does not mention any ties to Russia.
Downing said the counts against Manafort go as far back as 2005 and deal with money he earned while a political consultant in Ukraine, which ended in 2014. Manafort briefly joined the Trump campaign in 2016.
Downing noted that Manafort was interviewed by the Justice Department and FBI in 2014 as a witness, not as a suspect, in a federal investigation of a former Ukrainian president and said that Mueller resurrected the information three years later and used it to get a grand jury indictment.
The lawsuit asks a District Court judge to throw out the indictment and order Mueller to halt his investigation into matters that preceded the campaign.
The suit also names Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Downing said Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, did not follow Justice Department guidelines.
Downing said that, under the regulations set forth in the hiring of Mueller as special counsel, Rosenstein gave Mueller a mandate to investigate “links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
Rosenstein then allowed Mueller a wider berth, saying he could investigate “any matters that arose or may arise” from the Russia investigation, a mandate Downing said is not contained in the special counsel regulations.
“Those limitations prevent the special counsel from becoming an unaccountable roving commission, with virtually unlimited resources, that can delve into citizens’ lives in search of criminality unrelated to the specific matters the special counsel was appointed to address,” the lawsuit says.
Meanwhile, a witness who testified before a federal grand jury in Mueller’s investigation says that Trump is not getting a “fair shake” because the jury appears to be left-leaning.
The witness told the New York Post’s Page Six that the demographics of the jury are strongly stacked against the president, comparing them to far-left groups.
“The grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally,” the source told Page Six. “Maybe they found these jurors in central casting, or at a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley.”
Page Six noted that the witness claims that out of the 20 jurors, “11 are African-Americans and two were wearing ‘peace T-shirts.’ ” The witness also said, “There was only one white male in the room, and he was a prosecutor.”
“That room isn’t a room where POTUS gets a fair shake,” the witness concluded.
Mueller’s decision to impanel a grand jury from Washington, D.C. was seen by many as a “tactical” decision against Trump because the area is overwhelmingly Democratic.
“It gives the prosecutor the power to indict in the District of Columbia, which is a district that is heavily Democratic, and would have a jury pool very unfavorable to Trump and the Trump Administration,” Alan Dershowitz told WABC radio host Rita Cosby in August. “So it gives the prosecutor a tremendous tactical advantage.”