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Judge denies motion to toss lying charges against Manafort

Judge questions scope of Mueller probe
Judge questions Mueller's authority in Paul Manafort case 02:00

A federal judge on Friday rejected former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's attempt to have some of the criminal charges against him thrown out.

It was the latest setback for Manafort, who has seen U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson toss out his civil suit challenging the authority of special counsel Robert Mueller and dismiss a similar move in his criminal case. He faces charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and money-laundering conspiracy and also two false-statement charges related to information he shared with the Justice Department about his Ukrainian political work.

In a motion, Manafort had argued that the false-statement charges amounted to double jeopardy, charging him twice for the same offense of lying to the government. He also argued that the piling up of the charges could prejudice a jury against him.

But in a seven-page ruling dismissing the motion, Jackson said any harm to Manafort at this stage in his criminal case could be handled by "proper" jury instructions. She said he could revisit the double jeopardy matter after his trial, which is scheduled for September.

Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni declined comment on the ruling in the Washington court.

Also Friday, the federal judge in a separate criminal case in Virginia delayed Manafort's trial there.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said in an order that he's pushing back the trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges because of a medical procedure involving a member of Ellis' family. Manafort's trial is now scheduled to begin July 24. Manafort has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Ellis is considering some of the same matters that Jackson has already ruled on, a rarity in any criminal prosecution that could lead to the judges issuing conflicting rulings on the same topics while both cases are proceeding rapidly to trial.

Ellis has yet to rule on Manafort's challenge of Mueller's authority, which Jackson has already rejected.

Manafort argues that Mueller shouldn't have been able to prosecute him because the charges don't stem directly from Russian election interference. Prosecutors have countered that Mueller was specifically authorized to investigate Manafort for financial crimes and his political work in Ukraine.

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