Attorneys for one of the Russian firms charged with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday in response to his request for a protective order guarding the government’s evidence.
Mr. Mueller asked a D.C. federal judge on Tuesday this week to authorize a protective order covering huge amounts of data gathered by government prosecutors in their case against the firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, with the hopes of keeping the evidence from being shared with its co-defendants, including 13 Russian nationals and two other companies charged in February as part of the special counsel’s probe.
Responding to Mr. Mueller’s request for a protective order, attorneys for the firm accused the “shameful” special counsel of being “unlawfully appointed” and overseeing a “disingenuous mess.”
“Having produced not one iota of discovery in this criminal case, the unlawfully appointed Special Counsel requests a special and unprecedented blanket protective order covering tens of millions of pages of unclassified discovery,” Eric Dubelier, a D.C.-based attorney for the defendants, wrote in a memorandum of opposition filed on the firm’s behalf Thursday.
“Having made this special request based on a secret submission to the Court and a hysterical dithyramb about the future of American elections, one would think that the Special Counsel would cite to case holdings that support this remarkable request. But no, instead, the Special Counsel seeks to equate this make-believe electioneering case to others involving international terrorism and major drug trafficking, and relies only on irrelevant dicta from inapposite, primarily out-of-circuit cases,” wrote Mr. Dubelier. “In short, fake law, which is much more dangerous than fake news.”
“The Special Counsel’s requests are fashioned to deal with problems of his own making. He alone decided who and when to indict. There are no statute of limitations issues apparent from the face of the Indictment. He chose to indict a case while his investigation was apparently ongoing. He must deal with the consequences or he can dismiss the case,” he added.
A spokesman for Mr. Mueller did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Mr. Mueller was appointed last May by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign, as well any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. His office has since unsealed criminal charges against Americans and Russians alike, including several foreign individuals and entities accused of interfering in the 2016 race, Concord Management among them.
Concord Management was founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin also charged by the Justice Department, according to Mr. Mueller’s office. Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Prigozhin interfered in the 2016 race through his control of the Internet Research Agency, a so-called “troll farm” accused of waging “information warfare against the United States.”
“Public or unauthorized disclosure of this case’s discovery would result in the release of information that would assist foreign intelligence services, particularly those of the Russian Federation, and other foreign actors in future operations against the United States,” prosecutors said Tuesday.
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