Judge Orders Briefing in Manafort’s Civil Case

WASHINGTON (CN) – Now that Paul Manafort has dropped a bid to quash his criminal indictments in civil court, a federal judge ordered briefing Thursday as to jurisdiction issues over the former Trump campaign chair’s remaining claim.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson – who is overseeing Manafort’s civil case against the government as well as one of the government’s criminal cases against him – gave the parties until April 11 to address the jurisdictional question.

“The parties may submit supplemental memoranda, which may not exceed five pages, by April 11, 2018, addressing the question of whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction over Count I now that plaintiff has withdrawn any claim for declaratory or injunctive relief relating to the pending indictments,” the minute order says.

Instead of dismissing the criminal indictments against him, Manafort now seeks in his civil suit only to reign in special counsel Robert Mueller’s authority to bring additional charges against him in the future.

Manafort brought the civil claim in January against the Justice Department, Mueller and Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

At a hearing Wednesday, attorneys for Manafort took aim at a provision of the special counsel appointment order issued in May by Rosenstein that allows Mueller to investigate matters that arose or arise from his investigation of Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor, and whether the Trump campaign colluded with that effort.

Manafort dropped his civil effort to get the criminal indictments against him tossed two days after the government filed a brief in its criminal case against Manafort, which contained a previously undisclosed memo from Rosenstein.

The memo expressly authorizes Mueller to investigate whether Manafort colluded with Russia, as well as alleged crimes arising from payments he received for work he did on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, which form the basis for the criminal indictments against him.

Late Thursday, the government filed an opposition to Manafort’s demands for unredacted versions of search-and-seizure warrants in the DC criminal case.

Mueller’s team says it has produced seven warrants since Manafort’s demand: three with no redactions, three with minimal but necessary blackouts and one – the newest warrant – with “more substantial” redactions that are “fully justified by the government’s interests in protecting the identity of various sources of information and the need to preserve the confidentiality of ongoing investigations, and the withheld information is not necessary to establish
probable cause.”

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