Manafort asks judge to throw out criminal charges

Manafort asks judge to throw out criminal charges
© Greg Nash

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortBolton leaned on ex-lobbyist fired from Trump’s transition team to build NSC: report Trump-Russia probe marks one-year anniversary: This is what it has accomplished Trump suggests Justice Department is trying to frame him MORE is asking a federal judge to throw out five criminal charges against him. 

A lawyer for Manafort argued in court filings on Wednesday that the charges had nothing to do with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The court filings acknowledged that Mueller had been given a broad mandate to prosecute any alleged crimes that may arise from his overarching Russia investigation, but said that the special counsel had cashed a "blank check."

ADVERTISEMENT

"The appointment order here purports to give the Special Counsel power to investigate a specifically identified matter and anything that arises in the course of the investigation, without further consulting or obtaining approval from the Attorney General or Acting Attorney General," the filings read.

"The regulations do not allow for such an expansive appointment."

Manafort previously filed a lawsuit arguing that Mueller's actions have extended beyond the mandate of his investigation and prosecutorial authority.

The motion to dismiss the charges on Wednesday also signals that Manafort is likely to continue to fight the charges. Richard Gates, a longtime business associate of Manafort who was indicted alongside him last year, pleaded guilty last month and is cooperating with investigators.

The charges against Manafort stem from alleged money laundering, tax evasion and fraud spanning years before he went to work on President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo to outline post-deal strategy on Iran Trump asking aides whether he should proceed with North Korea summit: report Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all MORE's campaign. 

After Gates pleaded guilty last month, prosecutors filed an additional 18 charges against Manafort.