Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, long known as the kind of arrogant defendant who believes that he’s above the law, has proved it once again by asking a federal judge in Virginia to throw out an indictment brought against him by special counsel Robert Mueller, arguing that Mueller exceeded the scope of his authority within the investigation he was appointed to by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Manafort is currently out on bail after pleading not guilty to all charges against him, but under strict house arrest. Manafort has been a global traveler with contacts in Ukraine and Russia long enough that he is considered a flight risk.
This is not the first time Manafort has attempted to get charges against him dismissed, having failed to secure that outcome earlier this month in the D.C. District Court.
Asking for a dismissal of charges on these grounds is Manafort’s way of trying to fire a shot “across the bow” of the special counsel, as the Trump administration and legal counsel have been trying to do for months by attempting to cast doubt on the credibility and authority of Robert Mueller’s team.
But Manafort’s chances aren’t any better here than they were in front of the Washington judge — the mandate for Mueller’s special counsel was to also investigate anything arising directly or indirectly from his primary investigation.
And in light of the guilty pleas and direct cooperation of close co-workers Michael Flynn and Rick Gates, it’s unlikely that Manafort can secure himself any kind of special dispensation from either the federal judge or from Mueller himself.
And unfortunately for Manafort, the man who appointed Mueller in the first place, Deputy AG Rosenstein, has also expressed support for the way the investigation has gone, including all the charges that have been filed so far.
Manafort’s Virginia fraud trial is set to begin in July, and the courts have informed him that the reason he must get special permission to leave his home — the reason he’s under such strict house arrest — is because if he is convicted, he may never be free again. Justice Thomas Ellis said on Tuesday:
“Given the nature of the charges against the defendant and the apparent weight of the evidence against him, defendant faces the very real possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.”
Let’s hope that applies to more people in this case who are equally as guilty.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery