Manafort Drops Case Challenging Mueller on Eve of Fraud Trial

(Bloomberg) -- Just a day before his fraud trial was set to begin in Virginia, Paul Manafort dropped his civil lawsuit challenging the authority of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to charge him with crimes unrelated to his role as President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

Manafort, 69, abandoned his appeal late Monday of a judge’s dismissal of his lawsuit in federal court in Washington. The judge ruled in April that Manafort’s criminal case, and not a civil lawsuit, was the proper venue for challenging the Justice Department’s appointment of Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The civil lawsuit ended when Manafort filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal with Justice Department attorneys, who were defending Mueller and the official overseeing his work, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where Manafort is charged with bank and tax fraud. Prosecutors say he made more than $60 million as a political consultant in Ukraine, that he failed to report a “significant percentage” of it on his tax returns, and that he lied to lenders who gave him $20 million in loans.

He faces a separate trial in Washington on charges of money laundering, acting as an unregistered agent of Ukraine, and obstruction of justice.

The cases are U.S. v. Manafort, 18-cr-83, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria), and U.S. v. Manafort, 17-cr-201, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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