Indicted Russian Firm Takes Mueller Challenge to DC Circuit

WASHINGTON (CN) – Still the only Russian entity to respond its indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, an oligarch-owned consultancy asked the D.C. Circuit on Monday to rule on Mueller’s authority.

Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which is accused of funding the Russian troll farms that tried to sway voters against Hillary Clinton, asked the federal appeals court to review whether there is a constitutional basis to toss its indictment for conspiracy to defraud the United States.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who assumed office roughly nine months ago after her nomination by President Donald Trump, rejected Concord’s argument on Aug. 13.

Friedrich found that Mueller’s appointment does not violate separation-of-powers principles, and that Mueller did not exceed his authority by prosecuting Concord.

She also found no error in Mueller’s appointment by Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who began overseeing the Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Former Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller has also asked the D.C. Circuit to consider Mueller’s appointment.

Though not yet indicted, Miller faces a subpoena by the Mueller grand jury. His refusal to comply with with the order led Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell to find Miller in contempt Aug. 10.

Howell previously rejected a demand by Miller to quash the subpoenas based on the supposed unconstitutionality of Mueller’s appointment.

In the same vein, Miller has made the legality of Mueller’s appointment the basis of his appeal to the D.C. Circuit.

Concord is trying to intervene in Miller’s appeal since Miller incorporated the company’s motion to dismiss into his own pleadings to quash his subpoena, and since Howell cited Concord’s motion in her July 31 opinion.

The consultancy is owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a caterer and confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin whose close connections to the Russian leader earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef.”

Prigozhin was indicted alongside Concord back in February, along with 12 other Russian individuals and two other Russian companies. Concord is so far the only named defendant to respond to the charges.

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