U.S. v. Concord Management
United States v. Concord Management and Consulting LLC, sometimes referred to as the case against "Putin's chef," was a Mueller show trial during the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. Like the indictment of 12 GRU officers, the Concord indictment was filed with no expectation that the Russians, residing in Russia, would ever show up in an American court room to defend themselves, and Mueller office could boast it had brought some two dozen indictments.
When litigators for Concord Management actually showed up in court, Mueller was denied an easy public relations win. Mueller argued a nude selfie collected from the phone of a Russian troll bot was "vital to the strategic national security interests of the United States."
No Americans were involved, and Deputy Attorney General stated no collusion with the Trump campaign was found. Rosenstein and Mueller filed the case while President Trump was in flight to Helsinki for peace talks with President Putin.
The Mueller report concluded that the Russian company Concord Management was guilty of all of the crimes Mueller accused them of. The company however is still in pre-trial proceedings in US Federal Court that forbids under criminal penalty of law any assertion of this kind be made pending a jury determining their guilt or innocence. Lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting asked U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich of the District of Columbia, a Trump appointee, to order the government to show cause as to why Robert Mueller shouldn't be held in criminal contempt for violating local criminal rule 57.7 by releasing Mueller's report, therefore interfering with their right to a fair trial.
Paul Sperry Mueller may have perjured himself before Congress in his sworn testimony with an untruthful answer about why he held an earlier press briefing. Court documents suggest Mueller may have made his May 29, 2019 press conference as damage control after Judge Dabney Friedrich threatened to hold the Mueller team in criminal contempt of court over what she called misleading language in the Mueller Report about Russian government interference in the 2016 election.
Under oath before Congress, Mueller denied the judge’s action had anything to do with the May 29 press conference. In the the May 29 press conference, Mueller stressed that the Russians he indicted were “private” entities and "presumed innocent." Mueller didn’t tell the country that the day before, Judge Friedrich ordered Mueller to stop overstating evidence of Kremlin-directed interference.
On May 28, Judge Friedrich called attorneys prosecuting the case into her courtroom for a closed hearing. Friedrich agreed with one defendant’s claims that Mueller had overstated the evidence when he implied in the Mueller Report to Congress that the trolls were controlled by the Russian government and that the social media operations they conducted during the 2016 presidential campaign were directed by Moscow. News organizations had seized on the highly suggestive wording in his report to report they were part of a Kremlin-run operation. Concerned that the Mueller Report could prejudice a jury and jeopardize the defendants' right to a fair trial, Friedrich ordered the special prosecutor to stop making such claims and “to minimize the prejudice moving forward” — or face sanction.
- “The government shall refrain from making or authorizing any public statement that links the alleged conspiracy in the indictment to the Russian government. Willful failure to do so in the future will result in the initiation of contempt proceedings.”
The judge explained that Mueller’s report improperly referred to the defendants’ “social media operations” as one of “two principal interference operations in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections” carried out by the Russian government. She also pointed out that he also referred to their Internet trolling as “active measures” — a term of art that typically includes operations conducted by Russian intelligence to influence international affairs. She said this was a departure from the government’s original February 2018 indictment, which “does not link the defendants to the Russian government" and “alleges only private conduct by private actors."
Friedrich further directed the prosecution to make clear that its allegations are simply that and “remain unproven.” She also admonished Mueller’s team from expressing "an opinion on the defendant’s guilt or innocence."
The next day, May 29, Mueller's statement at the Department of Justice press podium apparently mollified the judge. In a recently unsealed July 1 opinion, Friedrich wrote that Mueller had “demonstrated” the government had complied with her order with his statements to the media.
- “In delivering his remarks the special counsel carefully distinguished between the efforts by 'Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military' and the efforts detailed ‘in a separate indictment’ by ‘a private [italics in original] Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens [italics in original] posed as Americans in order to interfere in the election.’”
Mueller's hastily assembled press briefing room headed off a public rebuke by the judge hearing one of the signature indictments of Mueller’s 22-month investigation.
When Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee on July 24 Rep. Tom McClintock asked him about the may 29 press conference, pressing him on whether the real reason he called it was to “retroactively” soften allegations he made in his report to comply with Judge Friedrich's demands a day earlier. In spite of documentary evidence suggesting otherwise, Mueller flatly stated that the court order had nothing to do with his calling the news conference, implying that the timing was just a coincidence.