In a revealing twist in the special counsel’s Russia probe, Robert Mueller has listed a company in his February 2018 indictment that appears not to have existed in the time period alleged by his prosecutorial team. This would be rather funny if it did not reveal either the extent to which the special counsel is willing to lie in order to secure an indictment, or the outright ignorance of the special counsel and company. Either way, this is troubling as it pertains to their ability to lead an honest investigation.
U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey asked Eric Dubelier, an attorney representing the Russian company listed within the special counsel’s indictment, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, if he was also representing a third company by the name of Concord Catering.
Judge Harvey asked Dubelier, “What about Concord Catering?” “The government makes an allegation that there’s some association. I don’t mean for you to – do you represent them, or not, today? And are we arraigning them as well?”
“We’re not,” replied Dubelier. “And the reason for that, Your Honor, is I think we are dealing with a situation of the government having indicted the proverbial ‘ham sandwich,’” Dubelier added. “That company did not exist as a legal entity during the time period alleged by the government,” Dubelier says. “If at some later time they show me that it did exist, we would be happy to represent them. But for purposes of today, no, we do not,” concluded Dubelier.
This disclosure also sheds some light on the grand jury Robert Mueller has assembled in order to secure his indictment. Clearly, the grand jury did not properly scrutinize the special counsel’s request for indictment or they would not have allowed a non-existent company to be listed within the indictment.
When searching through various court records made available to the public, we were unable to come across another instance in which a non-existent company was indicted by any prosecutor, let alone a special counsel.
A judge also rejected the special counsel’s request to delay the formal arraignment of the defendants, Concord Management and Consulting LLC. The prosecutorial team for the special counsel argued that the defendants did not formally accept the summons however, federal rules allow a defendant to voluntarily appear before the court and enter a plea as acceptance of a summons. This case would absolutely allow for the defendant’s appearance to serve as acceptance of a summons since the entire ordeal was made very public by every member of the media.
“Defendant voluntarily appeared through counsel as provided for in [federal rules], and further intends to enter a plea of not guilty. Defendant has not sought a limited appearance nor has it moved to quash the summons. As such, the briefing sought by the Special Counsel’s motion is pettifoggery,” Dubelier wrote.
The real reason the special counsel was looking to delay the arraignment was because they were unprepared for the Russian companies listed in the indictment to appear before the court. They did appear and the special counsel suddenly found themselves in the position of having to hand over evidence for discovery. Evidence that is still being used in active investigations.
“Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained,” special counsel attorneys Jeannie Rhee, Rush Atkinson and Ryan Dickey wrote. “That is especially true in the context of this case, which involves a foreign corporate defendant, controlled by another, individual foreign defendant, that has already demanded production of sensitive intelligence gathering, national security, and foreign affairs information.”
The special counsel is worried about handing over information in discovery that could harm their current investigations. They prematurely unsealed an indictment that has the capability to make public their entire investigation into the Russian meddling effort.
The special counsel had a tough two weeks as they attempted to bring their various cases before the courts. Judge Ellis is overseeing Paul Manafort’s request for a dismissal of his indictment and has demanded the special counsel produce the memo Rod Rosenstein sent to Robert Mueller which outlined the scope of the investigation. This is the same memo Congress has been demanding from the FBI however, the FBI has stonewalled up to this point.
The amount of missteps that are piling up on behalf of the special counsel indicates their case is not strong, if there is a case at all. A strong case is typically streamlined through the courts. Conversely, the special counsel appears to be jumping through hoops when attempting to coordinate something as simple as an arraignment.