- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2019

A defense attorney locked in a courtroom battle with special counsel Robert Mueller is quoting the iconic 1978 movie “Animal House” to make his point that prosecutors are hiding evidence.

Attorney Eric A. Dubelier is defending Russian firm Concord Management and Consulting, which a federal indictment accuses of interfering in the 2016 election by bankrolling millions of fake social media postings and ads.

Leading up to trial, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich backed Mr. Mueller’s plan to keep “sensitive” investigative evidence hidden from Mr. Dubelier, a former federal prosecutor. An anonymous “firewall counsel” was named to sift through documents and determine what could be shared.

Mr. Dubelier then discovered that the identical confidential material he turned over to the firewall ended up in the hands of Mr. Mueller, who proceeded to use it to continue his investigation. What’s more, he learned that Mr. Mueller has admitted in a secret filing that, yes, he acquired the evidence, but not from the firewall.

In a Friday court filing, Mr. Dubelier expressed outrage, turning to “Animal House” and the Tim Matheson fraternity character “Otter” to underscore his argument.

“In the Special Counsel’s secret pleading he concedes he took investigative action relating to information that was identical to that which Defendant provided to firewall counsel just seven days earlier,” he wrote in an argument filed on Friday. “The Special Counsel states that he did not obtain the information from firewall counsel. The Special Counsel also states that if simply trusting him that everything is just peachy is not sufficient, he can tell more ex parte [No defense counsel] secrets to the Court to support his position.

“The Special Counsel’s argument is reminiscent of Otter’s famous line, ‘Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up … you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it.’”

Mr. Dubelier described Judge Friedrich previous decision as an “unprecedented and onerous protective order” that keeps evidence away from the defense.

He asked Judge Friedrich to investigate how Concord’s evidence arrived with Mr. Mueller.

Mr. Dubelier’s filing repeated his request for evidence discovery, a fundamental right, he said, for all defendants.

Mr. Mueller has withheld evidence, which contains investigative tactics, on the grounds it would end up in the hands of Russian intelligence.

The Kremlin conducted the concerted Russian interference operation under orders from President Vladimir Putin, U.S. intelligence says.

Concord is headed oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close Putin ally.

Mr. Mueller has brought charges against 28 Russians and entities. Of those, only Concord has showed up, in the person of Mr. Dubelier, in federal court to fight the charges.

He calls the indictment a “made up crime,” arguing there is no federal law against hiding one’s identity on social media and no such crime as election interference.

He previously filed a motion noting that among irrelevant material turned over by Mr. Mueller are naked selfies.

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