A civil lawsuit brought by Paul Manafort against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the ongoing Russia investigation, was thrown out on Friday by a federal judge in Washington, D.C.
The lawsuit claimed that Mueller had overstepped his prosecutorial authority in seeking to charge Manafort, a 68-year-old political consultant and lobbyist, for crimes unrelated to his time as President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman.
The legal move was part of Manafort’s defense against Mueller, with Manafort’s attorney having originally asked the judge to order the abandonment of all charges the special counsel had brought against the former chairman. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was also asked to issue an order to protect Manafort from future prosecutions by Mueller.
Jackson, however, quashed the challenge in a 24-page decision.
“A civil case is not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future,” she wrote.
“[Court’s should not] interfere with or enjoin an ongoing criminal investigation when the defendant will have the opportunity to challenge any defects in the prosecution in the trial court or on direct appeal. The court finds that this civil complaint must be dismissed.”
Rosenstein’s original order to appoint Mueller to the Russia investigation, in fact, does authorize him not only to explore alleged collusion between Trump campaign officials and Kremlin agents but to also pursue “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Mueller filed 12 charges against Manafort through a grand jury in October of last year. Those charges related to money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for political consultancy work undertaken in Ukraine on behalf of a pro-Russian party.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said that Manafort was a flight risk and placed him under house arrest.
Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016. He is set to go to trial in Washington on Sept. 17.
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