U.S. judge mulls holding Russian firm linked to election meddling in
Send a link to a friend
[February 28, 2020]
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge is
weighing civil contempt charges against a Russian company accused of
funding a Russian troll farm's interference in the 2016 U.S. election to
boost President Donald Trump's candidacy after prosecutors accused the
St. Petersburg-based firm of defying subpoenas to hand over documents.
Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich to hold
Concord Management and Consulting LLC - a company that prosecutors said
is controlled by a businessman named Evgeny Prigozhin with ties with
Russian President Vladimir Putin - in contempt. Friedrich on Thursday
ordered company representatives to appear in court on Monday for a
Prosecutors said in a court filing that Concord has ignored several
subpoenas seeking documents such as corporate registration records,
company internet IP addresses and other files relating to its officers.
Concord was charged in 2018 with conspiracy to defraud the United States
for its role in election meddling aimed at sowing discord in the United
States, helping Trump and harming his Democratic opponent Hillary
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller at the time charged 13 Russian
individuals and three companies accused of engaging in "information
warfare against the United States."
It is one of the last remaining cases stemming from Mueller's probe.
Concord has made multiple unsuccessful attempts to have the charges
Mueller documented Russian election interference but found insufficient
evidence to demonstrate a criminal conspiracy between Trump's campaign
team and Moscow.
Prosecutors accused Concord of controlling the funding, recommending
personnel and overseeing the activities of a propaganda campaign carried
out by another company named in the indictment as the Internet Research
[to top of second column]
Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin looks on before a meeting of
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi
Jinping with representatives of civic organisations, business and
media communities at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 4, 2017.
REUTERS/Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool/File Photo
Prigozhin is a Russian catering tycoon nicknamed "Putin's cook" by
Russian media because of banquets he has organized for Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
"The American justice system has a paramount interest in conducting
trials with all admissible evidence," the prosecution said in its
brief. "Concord thus produced no responsive records for four of the
six categories of subpoenaed records, including one category -
records that identify IP addresses used by Concord - for which
virtually any business would possess responsive records."
Among the federal prosecutors who signed the brief was Adam Jed, one
of the original prosecutors on Mueller's team who this month
withdrew from another case arising from the investigation - the
trial of Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone - after Attorney
General William Barr and others intervened to roll back the
prosecution's sentencing recommendation for Stone.
The Republican operative was sentenced last week to three years and
four months in prison after being convicted of lying to Congress,
obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham)
[© 2020 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2020 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.