Grand Jury Access Denied to Indicted Russian Firm

WASHINGTON (CN) – One of the Russian companies indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller failed Friday to secure a federal judge’s review of grand jury instructions.

Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which is owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, had urged U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich to review Mueller’s instructions on May 14, saying they could provide a basis to dismiss the case.

Charged with a single count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, Concord is accused of failing to register as a foreign agent, which would have required it to make disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.

Prigozhin and another of his companies face charges as well, along with 12 other Russian individuals and a third corporate entity.

All are thought to have funded Russian troll farms that disrupted the 2016 presidential election, but Concord to date remains the only defendant to enter the appearance. Mueller brought the indictment on Feb. 16.

Judge Friedrich is set to preside over pretrial hearing in the case on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. in Washington, D.C.

Concord’s counsel, Reed Smith attorney Eric Dubelier, declined to comment on the order.

Friedrich said in a 3-page order this afternoon that Concord did not show a particularized need for the instructions, which is required to overcome the general secrecy rule that applies to grand jury materials.

Concord had argued that the absence of the word “willfully” in the indictment gave the company a particularized need for the court to review the instructions, while prosecutors say they need not prove willfulness.

Friedrich said she would address that legal question when Concord files a motion to dismiss, which she said should be resolved before deciding whether to review the grand jury instructions.

“If the court rules for Concord, then Concord may renew its motion for an in camera inspection of the grand jury instructions,” the order says.

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