Paul Manafort’s legal team has taken every possible tack in trying to find some way to prevent Manafort from having to go to trial in July. Since the evidence of Manafort’s money laundering, foreign lobbying, and lying under oath seems abundant, getting the case thrown out was possibly the former Trump campaign chairman’s best chance to avoid a lengthy sentence.
To that end, Manafort’s attorneys have argued that special counsel Robert Mueller wasn’t authorized to look at Manafort’s actions in Ukraine. That was shot down when Mueller produced a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein specifically authorizing an investigation in that area. And Manafort tried to argue that his communications with Alex van Der Zwaan and “person A” weren’t connected to Mueller’s investigation, before the special counsel showed that he was specifically looking at these communication as a possible back channel to the Russian government.
But the biggest, swing-for-the-fences effort from Manafort’s team came from an attempt to throw out the entire special counsel authorization as being being unconstitutional. If it had been successful, it would have not just freed Manafort, but ended the Mueller investigation. When it became clear that effort was going to be the opposite of successful, Manafort pulled back, and tried filing a civil suit to stop Mueller from sending any additional charges his way.
Today, that effort was sent packing.
A federal judge on Friday dismissed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s civil lawsuit challenging special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, finding that Manafort couldn’t sue to try to stop Mueller’s office from taking action against him in the future.
Rather than dealing with the contents of Manafort’s request, the judge informed his crack legal team that they had used an entirely wrong legal instrument in their effort to strike back at Mueller.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is also presiding over Manafort’s criminal case in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, wrote in Friday’s opinion that a civil lawsuit “is not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future.”
Manafort’s lawyers can be expected to try again. It’s either this, or prepare for trial in July. And that’s the last thing that Manafort wants.