Paul Manafort (AP/Andrew Harnik)

In legendary act of chutzpah, Paul Manafort sues Robert Mueller and the Department of Justice

In a federal lawsuit, Manafort's attorneys claim his business dealings are not relevant to Mueller's investigation


Rachel Leah
January 3, 2018 10:29PM (UTC)

Well, you can't fault the man for lack of boldness. Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is suing special counsel Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Department of Justice. In a federal lawsuit, Manafort challenged his indictment, claiming that his business dealings were not connected to Mueller's investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Washington Post reported: "Manafort’s attorneys argue in a 17-page lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington that the department exceeded its legal authority when Acting Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein in May ordered Mueller to investigate 'links and/or coordination' between the Russian government and Trump campaign, as well as 'any matters that arose or may arise directly from' that investigation."

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Manafort's attorneys say in the suit that the broad order gives Mueller "carte blanche to investigate and pursue criminal charges in connection with anything he stumbles across while investigating, no matter how remote from the specific matter identified as the subject of the appointment order."

His attorneys claim, "the investigation focuses not on Manafort’s actions with the Trump campaign in 2016, but alleged fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in his secret lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian groups, adding that he was interviewed by the Justice Department in 2014," the Post reported.

Manafort was indicted in October on 12 counts related to unlawful financial dealings, including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to launder money, which is, you know, illegal. His indictment includes conduct between 2006 and 2014 — "about a decade before the Trump presidential campaign launched — and have been known to the United States government for many years," the lawsuit claims. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

"The actions of DOJ and Mr. Rosenstein in issuing the Appointment Order, and Mr. Mueller's actions pursuant to the authority the Order granted him, were arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law," the suit says, evincing a level a neon ballsiness rarely seen in even professional wrestlers.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement, "The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants." Indeed, he has.

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Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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