(Bloomberg) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors came under fire at a court hearing from a lawyer for a Russian company accused of funding a wide-ranging effort to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Attorney Eric Dubelier accused the Mueller squad led by prosecutor Jeannie Rhee of failing to turn over evidence demanded five weeks ago, and for planning to deliver in electronic form about two terabytes of social media-related data without first translating it from Russian. That’s about as much data as fits on 40 Blu-ray discs.
"How do you know what’s in it?" Dubelier asked.
Appearing for the first time in the case before U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich on Wednesday in Washington, Dubelier questioned the charges laid out in an indictment unsealed in February against Concord Management and Consulting LLC, one of three companies and 13 individuals charged. Concord is controlled by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a man so close to that nation’s leader he is sometimes referred to as Vladimir Putin’s cook.
Rhee rejected defense assertions that she and her co-counsel were engaging in a "data dump," saying the information was responsive to defense requests for evidence. "It’s not irrelevant material." The prosecutor also told the court a protective order would be needed to shield some of the evidence from the public due to national security concerns.
Rhee insinuated Dubelier had hung up on her and her colleagues only nine minutes into a scheduled one-hour conference call last week, an assertion her opponent denied as "demonstrably false."
Asked by Friedrich about contemplated motions, Concord’s lawyer reeled off about a half-dozen in quick succession including challenges to the charge against his client and to Mueller’s authority generally.
Dubelier has taken a hard line with the prosecution, in court and as well as in court papers and other communications. In a May 14 court filing asking for permission to inspect instructions given to the grand jury, he said his client had been charged with a non-existent crime because Mueller, to justify his role, "has to indict a Russian -- any Russian."
Last week Dubelier entered a plea of not guilty on his client’s behalf before a federal magistrate judge. None of the other defendants have appeared in the case. The next hearing in Concord’s case is set for June 15.
The case is U.S. v. Internet Research Agency LLC, 18-cr-32, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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