by WorldTribune Staff, October 25, 2018
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to prove that indicted Russian company it indicted actually meddled in the 2016 election.
The Russian firm, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC., is one of three businesses indicted by Mueller in February – along with 13 individuals – for election meddling. The company is operated by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Concord surprised Mueller’s team in April when its representatives actually showed up in court to fight the charges.
Mueller’s team tried to delay Concord from entering the case, arguing that the Russian company had not been properly served, but Judge Friedrich denied the request, telling prosecutors “well, they’re here.”
Concord was accused in the indictment of supporting the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian “troll farm” accused of trying to influence the 2016 U.S. election.
Judge Dabney Friedrich last week raised questions over whether Mueller’s team could prove a key element of their case, saying that it was “hard to see” how allegations of Russian influence were intended to interfere with U.S. government operations vs. simply “confusing voters,” law.com reported.
The judge asked Mueller’s prosecutors if she should assume they aren’t accusing Concord of violating U.S. laws applicable to election expenditures and failure to register as a foreign agent.
The judge questioned prosecutor Jonathan Kravis about how the government would be able to show the Russian defendants were aware of the Justice Department and FEC’s functions and then deliberately sought to skirt them, according to reports by Bloomberg and Zero Hedge.
Concord, which pleaded not guilty in May, claims Mueller fabricated the charges and that there is no law against interfering in elections. Concord has asked the judge to throw out the charges.
Concord attorney, Eric Dubelier has described the charges as “make believe,” arguing that Mueller’s indictment against Concord “doesn’t charge a crime.”
“There is no statute of interfering with an election. There just isn’t,” said Dubelier, who added that Mueller’s office alleged a “made-up crime to fit the facts they have.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh said the Concord case resulted in a red-face moment for Mueller and his team:
“See, the Russian[s] … were not supposed to show up” to these hearings, Limbaugh said. “These were Mueller P.R. [public relations] indictments in order to convince people that the Russians did infiltrate and somehow meddle in the election. … [And now] the judge in the case has ordered Mueller to prove that this Russian company meddled in the election or she’s going to throw it out.”
Limbaugh concluded: “There is no crime, and these people want this case thrown out because Mueller made up a crime that doesn’t exist, thinking they would get away with it because these Russians would never show up. But they have, and so now the judge is essentially ordering Mueller’s lawyers to prove that this outfit did what Mueller says they did and Mueller can’t, because he made up a crime.”