Indicted Russian Firm Calls Case Secrecy Overblown

WASHINGTON (CN) – Coining a new catchphrase for its prosecution by special counsel Robert Mueller, a Russian oligarch-owned company accused of tilting President Donald Trump’s election bristled Thursday at “fake law.”

“Much more dangerous than fake news,” Concord Management and Consulting LLC said this morning in an opposition brief signed by Reed Smith attorney Katherine Seikaly.

Prosecutors labeled their June 12 motion for a protective order as largely unopposed, but Concord says it would shroud “tens of millions of pages of unclassified discovery” before Mueller has even produced an “iota of discovery.”

“Having made this special request based on a secret submission to the court and a hysterical dithyramb about the future of American elections, one would think that the special counsel would cite to case holdings that support this remarkable request,” the brief continues. “But no, instead, the special counsel seeks to equate this make-believe electioneering case to others involving international terrorism and major drug trafficking, and relies only on irrelevant dicta from inapposite, primarily out-of-circuit cases.”

Owned by indicted Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a caterer whose connections to the Russian president have earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef,” Concord faces a single count of conspiracy for allegedly funding the troll farms that went into overdrive for Trump in 2016.

Concord was indicted along with two other Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals but remains the sole entity to respond in court after four months. Included among this group is Prigozhin himself and another of his companies, Concord Catering.

Special counsel prosecutor L. Rush Atkinson warned Tuesday that a protective order must be put in place to bar these co-defendants from accessing discovery materials without making an appearance in the case.

Atkinson predicted that the discovery would identify unindicted individuals whose interference operations remain ongoing. He also asked the court to preclude the involvement of foreign nationals by allowing only domestic defense counsel to access “particularly sensitive material,” without special permission.

But defense attorney Seikaly said Thursday that the blanket protective order is designed to accommodate self-imposed problems.

“He chose to indict a case while his investigation was apparently ongoing. He must deal with the consequences or he can dismiss the case,” she said of Mueller.

Concord proposed its own protective order that would allow defense attorneys to disclose discovery materials to those they employ to assist with the case, potential witnesses and their attorneys, Concord’s officers and employees assisting with the defense, and anyone else the court authorizes.

“The special counsel’s pleading is representative of one important theme, that is, they have twice now tried to pull a fast one on the court and cannot be trusted to accurately advise the court of the relevant law,” the brief says.

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