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Former Trump campaign chief’s lawsuit against Mueller dismissed

Washington, April 28: A federal judge in Washington has dismissed former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s civil suit challenging the authority of Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the on-going Russia probe. “A civil case 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,” wrote US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the ruling on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported. “It is a sound and well-established principle that a court should not exercise its equitable powers to interfere with or enjoin an ongoing criminal investigation when the defendant will have the opportunity to challenge any defect in the prosecution in the trial court or on direct appeal,” Jackson wrote, “therefore, the Court finds that this civil complaint must be dismissed.”

Manafort filed the lawsuit in January, accusing that Mueller “acted beyond the scope of his authority” and requiring his actions “be set aside.” The former Trump aide faces multiple criminal charges including bank and tax fraud. If all convicted, he would face up to 305 years in jail. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and will go through two separate trials later this year. Should he choose to change his plea, he would be forced by Mueller’s office to reveal his knowledge on Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia. His long-time business associate Rick Gates, also a former Trump campaign aide, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy against the US and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and Moscow during the 2016 presidential elections. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita