Mueller Ordered to Clarify Claims Against Putin Ally's Company
(Bloomberg) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller was ordered by a judge to clarify his election meddling allegations against a Russian company ran by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
A Washington federal judge on Thursday asked prosecutors whether she should assume they aren’t accusing Concord Management and Consulting LLC of violating U.S. laws pertaining to election expenditures and registering as a foreign agent.
Concord is one of three Russian businesses and 13 people -- including Prigozhin -- indicted this year for conspiring to roil the 2016 election by using fake identities to make provocative posts on social media, disseminating ads and coordinating with unwitting Trump campaign workers to plan rallies. Concord is the only defendant to answer the charges.
The company has asked U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich to throw out the claims, saying that Mueller’s office concocted a crime and that there’s no law against interfering in elections.
According to the judge’s request for clarification, the Justice Department has argued that it doesn’t have to show that Concord had a legal duty to report its expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Rather, the allegation is that the company knowingly engaged in deceptive acts that precluded the FEC, or the Justice Department, from ascertaining whether they had broken the law.
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