Special Counsel Robert Mueller was fact-checked by a federal judge over an egregious mistake in federal count when it was revealed one of the Russian companies he accused of meddling in the 2016 election did not exist during the time period he alleged it did. It was one three Russian companies Mueller went after.
Mueller indicted the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, in addition to 13 Russian individuals for allegedly interfering in the election. He made it very public and took a winning lap for the indictments. These individuals were also accused of doing rallies for and against Trump.
“The court appearance was the first by any of the Russian defendants accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of participating in a covert social media campaign aimed in part at helping Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton,” notes the Springfield News-Sun.
According to reports, during a court hearing to arraign Concord Management, U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey asked one of Concord’s attorneys, Eric Dubelier, if he was also representing Concord Catering. They were not because the company did not exist during the time period Mueller alleges, Dubelier said. Oops… that’s a legalistically incompetent mistake if I’ve ever seen one. It’s amateurish.
“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?” the judge asked. Dubelier responded: “We’re not. And the reason for that, Your Honor, is I think we’re dealing with a situation of the government having indicted the proverbial ham sandwich. That company didn’t exist as a legal entity during the time period alleged by the government. If at some later time they show me that it did exist, we would probably represent them. But for purposes of today, no, we do not,” Dubelier explained.
Concord Management pled not guilty to the charges against them, according to Politico. You would expect that much. Some think Concord is only challenging the charges in order to obtain sensitive information about Mueller’s investigation. However, the company’s attorneys maintain they are just defending their client from the criminal charges against them. You can’t trust attorneys, the Russians or Mueller and Co.
This is a Russian company tied to a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who entered a not-guilty plea in a U.S. criminal case charging that it funded Internet trolls and polarizing social media advertisements in a bid to boost President Trump’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office allege that the firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, was controlled by a Russian oligarch known as Putin’s chef, Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Neither Prigozhin nor any officer or owner of Concord Management showed up at the U.S. district court in Washington for the brief arraignment hearing. However, two U.S. attorneys, Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of law firm Reed Smith, represented the company.
Dubelier also expressed dismay at a federal prosecutor’s revelation that she had seen the formal request, filed with the Treasury Department by his employer (the Pennsylvania-based law firm Reed Smith), for authorization to provide legal services to Concord Management and Concord Catering. The approval that was necessary since both companies have been on the U.S. sanctions list since June 2017. “We now know [prosecutors viewed] a confidential filing of [the Office of Foreign Assets Control], which in and of itself is a disturbing fact,” said Dubelier.
None of the other defendants showed up in court. No shocker there – they are in Russia. The term “indict a ham sandwich” is believed to have originated from a 1985 report in the New York Daily News when New York Chief Judge Sol Wachtler told the news publication that government prosecutors have so much influence over grand juries that they could get them to “indict a ham sandwich.” This particular indictment really is nothing but a public relations gimmick.
As Red State posited, “Mueller was drawing fire over his failure to produce anything that seemed like collusion with Russia by anybody and a lot of stuff that fairly screamed that he was trying to collect as many scalps as possible for whatever reason. There is no real evidence that any of the thirteen Russians he indicted are actual human beings. And now we find out that one of the companies he indicted didn’t even exist during the time of the election. This looks like Mueller wanted to indict Prigozhin because of his relationship with Putin and just listed the companies he owned as defendants without any real investigation.”
As to the claim that Concord didn’t exist during the last U.S. presidential election, there are myriad old references to Concord Catering in Russian media and press releases about Concord events and openings in Russia that say that it was founded in 1996. It also still seems to be operational today. It’s unclear if or when Concord Catering began doing any business in the United States. Searches of Nexis business info, the SEC database and the National Business Register turn up no results for any company called Concord Catering except a small and unrelated business in Arizona. Sounds like a shell company to me.
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