by WorldTribune Staff, March 17, 2020
The Department of Justice on Monday filed a motion to dismiss charges against two Russian companies which were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly financing a Russian troll farm that sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
The companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, were taking advantage of the discovery process to obtain material about U.S. efforts to combat election interference and a court proceeding was not necessary because it wouldn’t lead to “meaningful punishment in the event of conviction,” prosecutors said.
Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), and 13 Russian nationals were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February 2018. Their alleged criminal actions included social media postings and campaigns aimed at dividing American public opinion and sowing discord in the electorate during the 2016 presidential election. No impact on voters was ever demonstrated.
The indictments against the Concord companies were widely played up in the corporate media as one of the biggest “bombshells” in the Mueller investigation.
“Before a pandemic, there was a time when we were relentlessly told to fear Russian social media accounts,” journalist Aaron Mate tweeted. “Their juvenile memes not only elected Trump, but also ‘sowed chaos.’ When Mueller indicted 13 Russians over it, he was hailed as a hero. Well, DOJ just dropped the case.”
After the indictments were announced by Meuller’s office in February 2018, The New York Times said that “Russia is engaged in a virtual war against the United States.”
NPR called the Russians’ activities an “attack” on democracy.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said at the time, seemingly holding back tears: “For me, personally, hearing these charges and hearing what they were charging these Russians for — it was the first time that I felt like finally, finally, for the first time since we realized all this was happened, finally, it feels like someone is defending us.”
The Concord companies were the only one of those indicted that opted to push back against the charges in court.
“With the case approaching trial, prosecutors beat a hasty retreat, and said they had to weigh the risk of potentially exposing sensitive national security information against the benefits of continuing with the case against a company that likely wouldn’t face any significant punishment in the United States,” Fox News noted.
The case was set to go to trial on April 6, though likely would have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, The Washington Post reported.