WASHINGTON (CN) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller pushed back against the Russian company in his crosshairs over alleged interference in the 2016 election on Tuesday, telling a federal judge in Washington that the conspiracy charges he filed against the firm aren’t dependent on prosecutors proving its election interference was a crime.
Mueller’s four-page filing in the federal court in Washington on Tuesday came in response to Concord Management’ request that U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich toss the charges against it.
Friedrich ordered prosecutors to address Concord attorney Eric Dubelier’s claim that his client’s failure to register as a foreign agent or catalog campaign expenditures did not rise to the level of a crime and as such, a dismissal was in order.
On Tuesday, the special counsel’s attorneys responded arguing that the allegations against Concord, a company owned by Yevgeny Prigoshin,a Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef,” are, in fact, sufficient to support the conspiracy charge.
“The indictment alleges that a purpose of these manifold acts of deception was to frustrate the lawful government functions of the United States,” the filing states. “Those allegations are sufficient to support the charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States regardless of whether the defendants agreed to engage in conduct that violated [the Federal Election Campaign Act] or [the Foreign Agent Registration Act].”
Prigozhin –along with 13 additional Russian nationals – was charged in February with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. through targeted social media campaigns prosecutors claim helped then Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.