Firm Tied to ‘Putin’s Chef’ Loses Challenge to Mueller

(Bloomberg) -- A federal judge denied a motion by a Russian catering company to have an indictment against it dismissed on the grounds that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unlawfully appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, was charged in February along with a St. Petersburg troll farm and 13 Russian nationals by Mueller, who accused them of manipulating social media to sow discord among U.S. voters in the run-up to the 2016 election.

While the other defendants have refused to respond to Mueller’s charges, Concord Management hired a Washington law firm, Reed Smith LLC, to contest the matter. The firm filed a motion in June asking the judge in the case to toss the indictment because the appointment of Mueller -- who was authorized to investigate any crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 election -- was supposedly unlawful.

Concord is controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef.”

Lawyers representing Paul Manafort, who served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016 and is now standing trial on charges of tax and bank fraud in Virginia, have also argued that Mueller’s appointment was unlawful. Those attempts have been denied by two separate federal judges.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich wrote that, “Even though no statute explicitly authorizes” such an appointment, there’s precedent from the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for Rosenstein’s action.

(An earlier version corrected the timing of firm’s motion to throw out indictment.)

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