Paul Manafort on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment against him in Virginia, arguing that Mueller overstepped his authority by indicting Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election meddling.
Manafort has filed a similar motion to dismiss in his case in Washington, D.C., and he also filed a civil lawsuit against Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in Washington, D.C., arguing that the special counsel did not have the authority to bring the indictments against Manafort.
When Rosenstein appointed Mueller, he gave him the authority to investigate links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, as well as “any
matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” as the motion from Manafort notes. Manafort’s lawyers argue that Rosenstein did not have the authority to give Mueller the broad power to investigate anything that may arise from the Russia probe. They also argue that even if Rosenstein did have that authority, Mueller overstepped the boundaries laid out by the deputy attorney general because the Justice Department knew about some of Manafort’s activities before the special counsel was appointed.
The motion to dismiss describes Rosenstein’s order appointing Mueller as a “blank check.”
“And it is one the Special Counsel has cashed, repeatedly,” the complaint reads.
In the Virginia indictment, Manafort faces charges of making false statements on tax returns, failing to report foreign bank accounts and bank fraud. In Washington, D.C., he faces charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and failure to disclose foreign lobbying. He has pleaded not guilty to both indictments.
Read the motion to dismiss: