- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 15, 2018

A federal judge on Thursday denied a Russian company’s bid to dismiss a Robert Mueller indictment that accused it of illegally interfering in the 2016 election.

The indictment said Concord Management and Consulting LLC spent over $1 million setting up phony social media posts and political rallies aimed at helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.

Defense Attorney Eric Dubelier argued that there is no federal law against taking on fake personas online or outlawing interference in a federal election.

But District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich disagreed, saying the deceptive conduct is illegal under the statue, known as 371, that makes it a crime to defraud the United States.

“Put simply, conspiracies to defraud the government by interfering with its agencies’ lawful functions are illegal because 371 makes them illegal….” she wrote.

Concord operatives didn’t disclose their independent expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. Nor did it file with the Justice Department as a foreign agent.

Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment against Concord and a second Russian firm is, to date, his centerpiece action involving Russian election interference by hacking Democratic Party computers and disseminating fake news.

His convictions thus far have involved President Trump people who committed perjury or tax evasion and bank fraud, but not conspiracies with Moscow.

No Trump associated is implicated in the Concord indictment.

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