Justice Department files motion to dismiss charges against firms accused of funding Russian troll farm

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday filed a motion to dismiss charges against a pair of shell companies accused of financing a Russian troll farm that sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors argued that the companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, were taking advantage of the discovery process to obtain material about U.S. efforts to combat election interference and that a court proceeding was not necessary because it wouldn’t lead to “meaningful punishment in the event of conviction.”

In a nine-page filing, the prosecutors said that the Concord companies were intent on reaping “the benefits of the Court’s jurisdiction while positioning itself to evade any real obligations or responsibility.”

The Concord firms were among three businesses, including the Internet Research Agency (IRA), and 13 Russian nationals that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller secured indictments against during his sweeping investigation into election interference from Moscow. The indictment charged the defendants over their role in the IRA efforts to sow discord and undermine the U.S. presidential election in 2016. 

Mueller’s report identified the extent of the IRA’s operation, concluding that the influence campaign purchases thousands of Facebook ads and manned hundreds of social media accounts in an attempt to influence the opinions of American voters. 

The Concord companies were the only one of those indicted that opted to push back against the charges in court. 

The Justice Department claimed that Concord Management and Consulting LLC recently failed to comply with two court-issued trial subpoenas and ignored an order to make available a corporate representative. Prosecutors also accused the firm of sending a “misleading [at best]” declaration from Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a Russian businessman accused of funding and directing the influence campaign. 

Prigozhin is known as “Putin’s chef” because of his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The case was set to go to trial on April 6, though likely would have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, The Washington Post reported



Tags Mueller investigation Robert Mueller Vladimir Putin

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