WASHINGTON (CN) – Concord Management, the Russian company charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller with interfering in the 2016 election, filed a a biting response to the prosecutor’s allegations Thursday, claiming Mueller has “mind-bendingly” failed to prove the company willfully intended to defraud the United States.
In a nine-page filing in federal court in Washington, D.C., Concord Management attorney Eric Dubelier likened Mueller’s claims to the cries of the cartoon character, Tweety bird.
Dubelier, of the Reed Smith law firm, wrote: “The special counsel’s retort has been that he was not required to charge willfulness because he did not charge violations of [the Federal Election Campaign Act or the Foreign Agent Registration Act.] Now in mind-bending, intergalactic, whiplash fashion, he says for the first time, I did, I did, I charged violations of FECA and FARA.”
In a footnote which stands out in the filing, Dubelier instructs the court to consider the “I did, I did” line to sound “a lot like I did, I did I taw a puddy tat. (Tweetie, 1948.)” [sic]
Dubelier continued: “Reminiscent of the old adage, ‘give a man enough rope and he will hang himself,’ the Special Counsel just did so.”
Concord’s latest filing follows an Oct. 23 response by prosecutors to U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich’s request that Mueller’s team clarify if conspiracy charges brought against the firm also hinge on their proving that Concord interfered in the 2016 election.
Prosecutors argue the indictment’s allegations are clear and that Concord’s “manifold acts of deception” were intended to frustrate the U.S. government. That alone should be enough to charge conspiracy, prosecutors say.
But Concord contended Thursday that Mueller’s allegations in the indictment are overly “generic” and that he has continued to fail at showing what legal duties the firm has to report election related expenditures or whether they needed to register as foreign agents.
Slamming the special counsel as “revisionist,” Dubelier also wrote that “the fact that the court found it necessary, after hundreds of pages of briefing and extensive oral argument, to ask the Special Counsel what the indictment actually charged alone, supports dismissal.”
Those “acts of deception,” alleged by Mueller, like the use of fake social media accounts or email accounts registered under fake names to interfere in the election “[are not], and cannot, be right,” Dubelier said.
Any allegation of deception or obstruction hinges on what the government says the function of those pieces of legislation actually are as well as the duties created by FECA and FARA and how it is implemented by the Department of Justice, the firm argued.
“And if an ordinary citizen does not know any of that, then the indictment must allege the conspirator knows or there is no blameworthy mental state and the indictment is defective,” the filing states.
Mueller’s case against Concord threatens to “criminalize innocent conduct [like] pretending to be someone else on the internet,” Dubelier wrote.
If the special counsel were able to move forward with their allegations, the government could ostensibly “remove the willfulness requirement from every statute where it exists simply by indicting violations under the defraud clause of § 371,” the filing states.
This, according to the Russian-firm’s attorney, is not what Congress intended.
In example, a defendant indicted for willfully conspiring to violate terms of the Arms Export Control Act by failing to register or apply for an export license, could face a federal prosecutors that would simply charge that defendant with conspiracy to defraud the State Department and “like magic” remove congressionally-mandated requirements to allege and prove willfulness.