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Manafort drops one challenge to Mueller charge

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has dropped a challenge he made to one criminal charge he faces in Virgi...

Posted: May 22, 2018 3:15 AM
Updated: May 22, 2018 3:16 AM

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has dropped a challenge he made to one criminal charge he faces in Virginia because of a revelation by the special counsel Robert Mueller's office, according to a new court filing Monday.

As Manafort prepares for his trials in Virginia and DC, he has asked two federal judges to dismiss parts of the cases against him, as well as the indictments as a whole. The request Manafort dropped Monday initially asked the court to throw out one charge -- alleging he failed to disclose to the Treasury Department foreign bank accounts worth more than $10,000 in 2011 -- because its five-year statute of limitations expired.

But the special counsel's office had revealed last week they used secret court proceedings to delay their deadline to bring the charge.

The prosecutors had sought records, including from banks and witnesses, related to the charge from Cyprus, and a federal judge in Virginia approved the request to the foreign government last June. It took almost a year for federal investigators to collect much of the evidence they sought.

Cypriot authorities handed over the requested evidence in September, October and November last year, then more on April 30, Mueller's team revealed last week.

Because of the judge's intervention and Cyprus' delay to help with evidence collection, prosecutors said the statute of limitations clock paused, allowing them to bring the charge more than five years after the alleged crime.

"The secret application by the special counsel was not disclosed to the defendant prior to moving to dismiss [the financial filings charge], nor was the district court's subsequent order," Manafort's lawyers wrote Monday.

In other filings Monday, Manafort reiterated that the special counsel's office violated his constitutional protections by searching and seizing electronics in his Alexandria, Virginia, apartment and a storage unit last year.

The Virginia-based judge, T.S. Ellis, has not ruled on Manafort's requests yet, or a separate assertion Manafort made that Mueller's investigation into him was out of bounds and should be invalidated.

A DC federal judge, Amy Berman Jackson, denied a request to throw out the indictment before her as a whole last week. She has not ruled on Manafort's requests there to toss certain charges in the indictment.

Manafort has denied all charges against him.

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