- The Justice Department moved on Monday to drop its cases against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities indicted as part the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference.
- In a court filing, prosecutors accused one of those companies or taking advantage of the US legal process to harm national security while ignoring its own legal obligations related to the case.
- Notably, the filing also said the government decided to drop its case “particularly in light of recent events and a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” in addition to other factors.
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The Justice Department on Monday moved to drop its case against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities who were indicted as part of the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.
In a court filing, prosecutors accused one of those companies, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, of taking advantage of the US legal process and discovery to try to harm national security. All the while, the filing said, Concord refused to comply with its own legal obligations under the US judicial system.
That included complying with court-issued subpoenas, ignoring a court order to make available a corporate representative, and submitting a “misleading (at best) declaration from an incredible declarant, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch and co-defendant who controls Concord and is alleged in the indictment as having funded and directed the defendants’ election interference campaign.”
Notably, the filing continued to say that based on consideration of these circumstances, “and particularly in light of recent events and a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” and other details outlined in a classified addendum to the filing, the Justice Department decided to drop its case.
The filing said prosecutors came to the decision after determining that Concord has no presence in the US and “no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction” and that a case against the company would not serve justice or national security.
Mueller’s charges in this case were directed primarily at the Internet Research Agency (IRA), an infamous Russian “troll factory” located in St. Petersburg that focused on sowing political discord during the 2016 race by using Russian bots to spread fake news and pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media platforms.
The 13 Russian nationals charged were indicted for working in “various capacities to carry out” the agency’s “interference operations targeting the United States.”
All the defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the US; the IRA and two defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud; and the IRA and four defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft.
Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was named among the defendants and accused of using his companies to bankroll the IRA’s work.
The charges did not allege that any American was a knowing participant in Russia’s activities, or that the underlying conduct altered the outcome of the race.
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