Prosecutors on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's team are asking a judge to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, according to court documents filed Friday.
In the filing, prosecutors asked to push back an initial appearance and arraignment in the case — set to take place next week — until the court decides whether one of the companies, Concord Management, was properly served a summons.
Concord Management is among three entities, including Concord Catering and the Internet Research Agency, charged with working to sow chaos and division in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Thirteen individuals were also charged in that case.
It's unlikely that the individuals charged in the case will ever appear in U.S. court. The companies were also largely expected to ignore the proceedings.
But the motion revealed that lawyers for Concord Management made a series of discovery requests seeking records, including statements and electronic surveillance of the company's executives and employees, from Mueller's investigation.
Prosecutors also disclosed that they had sought to deliver summonses to Concord and the Internet Research Agency through the Russian Prosecutor General's Office. That office, however, declined to accept the summonses.
"The government has submitted service requests to the Russian government pursuant to a mutual legal assistance treaty," the filing reads. "To the government’s knowledge, no further steps have been taken within Russia to effectuate service."
The initial hearing in the case is scheduled for May 9. Prosecutors are proposing that Concord's lawyers file a brief by May 25, and that government lawyers file a response by June 15, with a court hearing coming sometime after that.
"The government therefore requests an adjournment of the presently scheduled initial appearance and arraignment until the Court makes its determination," the court filing reads.
The indictment against the three companies and 13 individuals was unveiled in February, and marked a significant development in Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.
The indictment amounted to the first legal action against Russian individuals or entities since the U.S. intelligence community publicly revealed its assessment in early 2017 that Moscow sought to interfere in the American election by spreading disinformation and exacerbating political divisions.