Court Battles

Firm indicted in Russia probe accuses Mueller of creating ‘make believe’ crime


A Russian company that was indicted in February for using social media to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of creating a “make believe” crime.

A U.S.-based attorney for Concord Management and Consulting LLC filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking Judge Dabney Friedrich to dismiss the charges Mueller filed in February against the company for spreading divisive content on social media.

The Russian firm pleaded not guilty to the charges in May.

{mosads}“In short, the Special Counsel found a set of alleged facts for which there is no crime,” the company’s attorney, Eric Dubelier, argues in a 57-page motion filed Monday. “Instead of conceding that truth, however, the Special Counsel attempts to create a make-believe crime that is in fact no crime at all, much less one with the requisite mens rea of willfulness.”

Concord Management is accused of funding the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that spread information on social media to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Dubelier argued in his motion Monday that there is no federal law prohibiting “interference” in a U.S. election and that there isn’t a federal law making it a crime to conspire to do so.

“Just as critically, there is no federal election law or regulation prohibiting any person or group of persons, whether American or foreign, acting independently of a political candidate, from conveying political speech on social media, at political rallies, or in advertisements available for viewing in the United States,” he argued.

“Further, there is no law or regulation requiring that any such speech be accurate or truthful or that any U.S. or foreign person truthfully or accurately identify herself or himself when engaging in such speech—when it comes to political speech, one is free to pretend to be whomever he or she wants to be and to say whatever he or she wants to say,” Dubelier added. 

Earlier this month, Friedrich, a Trump appointee, scheduled a motion hearing in the case to be held on Oct. 10.

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