In a blistering court filing Thursday, a company accused of funding Russia’s 2016 election internet troll effort accused “unlawfully appointed” Special Counsel Robert Mueller of engaging in a “hysterical dithyramb” and of equating a “make-believe electioneering case to others involving international terrorism and major drug trafficking.”
“In short, fake law, which is much more dangerous than fake news,” Concord Management’s attorneys said in the court document.
The filing was in response to Mueller’s request to the court that certain restrictions be placed on who had access to evidence prosecutors turned over to defense as part of the proceedings. Mueller, in proposing the order, cited concerns that the sensitive materials might make it into to hands of foreign intel. The materials include information about other actors, not currently charged, who are still engaged in election-meddling efforts, Mueller said.
Concord Management called Mueller’s request “unprecedented” and argued that, in making “a hysterical dithyramb about the future of American elections, one would think that the Special Counsel would cite to case holdings that support this remarkable request.”
Concord Management is among the entities and individuals named in Mueller’s indictment, handed down by a grand jury in February, concerning Russia’s efforts on social media to influence the 2016 election. The firm is charged with a conspiracy to defraud the United States. Yevgeny Prigozhin — the Kremlin-linked restauranteur nicknamed “Putin’s chef,” who Mueller says controls Concord Management — is also named in the indictment, but has not shown up in court.
It was somewhat of a surprise when the firm lawyered up earlier this year, and indicated that it intended to fight the charges. Its attorneys — Eric Dubelier and Katherine Seikaly of the U.S.-based firm Reed Smith — have been extremely aggressive in public proceedings.
Mueller is asking the court to order that any co-defendents, including Prigozhin, who have not appeared in court be denied access to the discovery materials turned over to Concord Management, unless they choose to appear in the case or if Concord Management gets permission from the court.
Concord Management suggested that proposal was part of a “political game of tit-for-tat.”
“The Special Counsel seeks the unprecedented process of prohibiting defense counsel from sharing or discussing any discovery with any co-defendant — including the only person affiliated with Concord named in the Indictment — unless those individuals come to the United States to become hostages in this political game of tit-for-tat,” the filing said.
Mueller is also proposing that a team of government lawyers not involved in the prosecution review any request by the defense that a foreign national view the discovery, and that such a request get court approval. Concord Management called such a team “make-believe.”
Concord Management rejected Mueller’s arguments about the need to protect the personal information about the alleged victims in the evidence being handed over to the defense.
“[U]ndersigned counsel has already advised the Special Counsel that Defendant does not seek any personal identifying information that is irrelevant to the defense. The Special Counsel stated to undersigned counsel that it would not be possible to remove any such information from the discovery,” Concord Management said. “But that is the Special Counsel’s problem, not Concord’s.”
Concord Management is seeking a court order that Mueller remove the personal information not relevant to the case from the discovery. Its proposed order would also grant potential witnesses, their lawyers, and Concord Management “individual officers and employees … who are assisting in the defense of this case” access to the materials.
Read the full filing below: