FILE – In this April 21, 2016 file photo, attorney and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, right, arrives for a court hearing at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco. Mueller has been overseeing settlement talks with Volkswagen, the U.S. government and private lawyers. Mueller is being honored with an award from West Point. The U.S. Military Academy’s Association of Graduates will present the Thayer Award to Mueller on Thursday evening, Oct. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Last week I posted on the humiliation special counsel Robert Mueller’s crack team suffered in federal court in Virginia. In February, Mueller indicted three Russian companies and thirteen individual Russians…who may or may not exist…for various crimes in connection with the 2016 campaign. The indictment looked to be bullsh** from the beginning as it makes running an anonymous Facebook page during an election a federal crime. More to the point, the indictment was a public affairs gimmick. Mueller had been under criticism for his indictments having zero to do with investigating Russian collusion. They were either existing financial crimes that predated the election by years or “gotcha” lying to investigators indictments. The indictment of Russians who were never expected to appear in court seemed like an easy scam to run on a credulous media.
Then an unforeseen event happened. One of the companies, Concord Management, retained US counsel from a high profile litigation firm in April. They contacted Mueller’s team who ignored them. Last week, the government was in court arguing that trial must be delayed because Concord Management had not been properly served with notice because the special counsel had decided to ignore the fact that US counsel was available. It was also revealed that not only had the special counsel’s office refused to respond to discovery requests from Concord, they had refused to even acknowledge receiving them. The judge was not amused and ordered a hearing for yesterday to plan the way forward on the case.
Yesterday, Concord’s attorneys entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of their client and demanded their right to a speedy trial which is required to commence within thirty days unless delayed for reasons specified in law.
The real fight here is going to be over discovery. Concord in entitled to have the evidence the government used to bring the indictments. Some, if not all, of that information is secret so the government is going to try to convince the court that it doesn’t have to give it up. The safe bet, in this case, is that it ends up being dropped because there was probably not enough evidence, classified or otherwise, to indict Concord in the first place.
I’ve just joined Facebook. Drop by and join the fun there.