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More Indictments For Paul Manafort? Robert Mueller Really Never Stops Giving!
Can indictments be regifted?
Looks like additional charges may be in Paul Manafort's future, and we don't mean big credit-card purchases at after-Christmas sales. The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may be putting Manafort's feet to the fire with new counts on top of the conspiracy, money-laundering, and false statement charges brought against Manafort at the end of October. Manafort and his loyal dogsbody Rick Gates pleaded not guilty, and now "Washington legal circles" are anticipating Mueller will file a "superceding indictment" which would replace the existing document, keeping the original charges and adding new ones.
Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University's law school, explained the likely what and why:
There was much in the narrative of the indictment that referenced crimes not charged [...] Prosecutors will often issue a superseding indictment as the grand jury continues its work. There’s also a tactical reason for this, that superseding indictments tend to grind defendants a bit more over time.
The October indictment hinted at additional criming by the duplicitous duo, particularly in the matter of possible unpaid taxes on Manafort's foreign business deals. The delay in bringing possible tax charges may be due to some procedural complications in how tax violations get prosecuted, according to a former prosecutor who worked in the tax division. Here -- let's learn some legalese that may be flying around cable TV news thanks to Woodruff's reporting. Mueller's original indictment, said the former prosecutor, is what's called a
“speaking indictment” -- in other words, an indictment that contains more information than necessary.
“It’s a way of dirtying up a defendant without having to actually prove the conduct,” he said. “I think, in fairness to them, they probably rushed it because they didn’t want to wait for the tax division approval on those tax counts. That, I assume, would be working its way through the system.”
To go after anyone for tax law violations, federal prosecutors first have to get approval from the Tax Division at the DOJ, which takes time, and the (possible) defendant's lawyers also get the chance to petition the Tax Division to not give that authorization.
But wait! Isn't this all just more proof that Mueller is getting desperate, and that he's scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel for dirt on Manafort, who only worked for the Trump campaign for about five minutes last summer anyway? Nah, probably not, according to Martin Shiel, a former IRS criminal investigator, who explains,
Superseding indictments are frequently brought in financial investigations due to defendant recalcitrance to cooperate and also because they take so long to be put together[.]
Not that anyone at Fox News or the tips of Donald Trump's tweeting thumbs will find that persuasive, because NO COLLUSION and THEY FOUND NOTHING -- SHUT IT DOWN. Also, if you misread the name of the former IRS guy as "Martin Shkreli," like we did, you may start breathing again.
In addition to the likely new financial charges against Manafort and Gates, other Trump-Russia figures might find themselves in trouble thanks to incriminating financial messes. If Michael Flynn proves insufficiently cooperative in the investigation, for instance, Mueller has all sorts of leverage to add charges against him, too, since Flynn didn't disclose lobbying payments from Russia and Turkey. And there's all sorts of potential Trump-family moneyfuckery that may yet be turned up by Mueller's probe of Deutsche Bank, which Team Trump insists isn't actually being subpoenaed, but as Donald Trump likes to say, "we will see...we will see." And it also means Hillary Clinton had better watch out for new braying from the usual idiots.
As Woodruff notes, there's still a lot that's likely to unfold, because following the money can involve a long and winding road. Fortunately, Robert Mueller doesn't have to worry about Phil Spector overproducing his final album with too many goddamn instrumentals.
[ Daily Beast ]