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by WorldTribune Staff, January 2, 2019
A former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who is representing a Russian company charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation accused Mueller of manufacturing a “make-believe crime” against his client and withholding “sensitive” evidence in the case.
Eric Dubelier, has irked the Mueller team by referring to his former employer as “the real Justice Department,” implying that Mueller’s team is something less, security correspondent Rowan Scarborough noted in a Jan. 1 report for The Washington Times.
Dubelier, a litigator for the Reed Smith law firm, is representing Concord Management and Consulting, which is accused by Mueller of funding a troll farm that interfered in the 2016 election.
Mueller is calculating the “short-term political value of a conviction” and not worrying about an appeals court defeat years later, Dubelier charged. He has accused the Mueller team of hiding documents Concord needs for its defense.
“This equates to the burden of preparing for trial without any ability to discuss the evidence with the client who is to be put on trial,” he said. “This has never happened before in reported case law because the notion is too ludicrous to contemplate.”
What Mueller has turned over is often irrelevant to mounting a defense, such as promotion emails for airlines and someone’s personal naked selfie photographs, Dubelier said in a December court filing.
Dubelier said Mueller is keeping most relevant information between himself and U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, who rejected Dubelier’s bid to dismiss the case.
“That’s why in this case this special counsel made up a crime to fit the facts that they have,” Dubelier said. “And that’s the fundamental danger with the entire special counsel concept: that they operate outside the parameters of the Department of Justice in a way that is absolutely inconsistent with the consistent behavior of the Department of Justice in these cases for the past 30 years.”
Concord Management and Consulting is the only one of 28 Russian individual and firms charged by Mueller to actually mount a defense in a D.C. court.
When Mueller brought the charges, he likely assumed that “no defendant would travel the nearly 5,000 miles to show up for trial,” Scarborough noted.
Dubelier “seemed to catch the Mueller team off guard by immediately demanding disclosure of evidence,” Scarborough wrote. “Disclosure, Dubelier argues, is a sacred legal right in America, even for the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, Concord’s chief with close ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.”
Concord is accused of an elaborate conspiracy with another Russian operation, the Internet Research Agency. The indictment accuses Concord of providing the troll farm $1.2 million monthly to defraud the U.S. The two firms allegedly set up fake personas and false Twitter accounts, Facebook ads and other social media posts mostly to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.
Dubelier argues that people are free to create fake accounts. It’s done all the time, he says.
“When it comes to political speech, one is free to pretend to be whomever he or she wants to be and to say whatever he or she wants to say,” he said at an Oct. 15 hearing.
In a pre-trial argument, Scarborough noted that Dubelier became the first defense attorney to ask this question: Why isn’t British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who was paid by Democrats to obtain anti-Trump information from the Kremlin to influence 2016 voting, being investigated by the Justice Department for election interference just like the Russians?