Manafort’s Civil Suit Against Justice Department Is Dropped

Paul Manafort’s civil lawsuit attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s authority to charge him with crimes unrelated to his role as President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman was dropped, Bloomberg informed.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington rejected the suit Friday, stating that the criminal cases against Manafort are the proper venue for his assault on the Justice Department’s May 17 order that granted Mueller authority to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“A civil case is not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future,” Jackson wrote in the 24-page decision.

In the January lawsuit, Manafort claimed Mueller overstepped his authority to investigate Russian meddling and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Manafort, 69, is accused in Washington federal court of money laundering and failing to report his lobbying in Ukraine. He faces a separate bank and tax fraud indictment in Alexandria, Virginia. Manafort has launched similar attacks on Mueller’s authority in both criminal cases.

The lawsuit initially sought to set aside Mueller’s May 2017 appointment as special counsel and nullify his actions related to Manafort.

But at an April 4 hearing, Downing scaled back his request, saying he didn’t want to overturn Mueller’s appointment entirely. Rather, he wanted to bar future actions by Mueller while also invalidating the section granting Mueller authority to probe “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

In her ruling, Jackson said that “in the wake of the surgery” that Manafort “has performed on his own complaint,” not much was left to his lawsuit.

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