Feds Rebuff Mueller Report Assertion by Indicted Russian Firm

WASHINGTON (CN) – Dismissive of a Russian company’s invocation of the Mueller report to dodge charges that it interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, prosecutors spent just five pages Thursday responding to it.

“The body of the public version of the report mentions this defendant, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, just three times,” the opposition brief states.

Owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a caterer sometimes referred to as “Putin’s chef” because of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Concord has pleaded not guilty to the charge that it funneled money to the Internet Research Agency, which led the influence operation that favored Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016.

In a motion to show cause last month, Concord suggested that special counsel Robert Mueller should be held in contempt for describing the allegations against it as fact in the report.

Concord also took aim at Attorney General William Barr for making a redacted version of Mueller’s report available to the public. 

Though Concord suggested that the report’s public release violated a rule governing extrajudicial statements about the case, prosecutors rejected those arguments in Thursday’s filing.

The brief emphasizes that U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich has not ordered a gag order in the case, making the report’s release unlikely to interfere with a fair trial.

As for the three mentions of Concord in the report, prosecutors note that these mentions largely tracks the allegations contained in Concord’s indictment for a single count of conspiracy.

Concord says the report improperly ties it to the activity of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democratic Party emails that damaged Hillary Clinton, but the government rejected this argument as well.

“The vast majority of the discussion of the activities of the Russian government appears in another section of the report in which Concord is not mentioned,” the filing says.

No trial date has been set yet in Concord’s case, which is being prosecuted in Washington by U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu.

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