- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

President Trump’s former defense attorney lambasted the judge in the Paul Manafort case for saying at his sentencing on Wednesday that the issue of Russian collusion had no bearing on his fraud case.

“What a travesty,” John Dowd told The Washington Times. He said Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed with a prime objective of finding collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

In the end, Manafort, the former campaign manager, was convicted of crooked business, loan and tax dealings unrelated to Russia.

But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson expressed frustration at defense attorney Kevin Downing for making that point. 

“The ‘no collusion’ refrain that runs through the entire defense memorandum is unrelated to matters at hand,” Judge Jackson said, according to Vox.com. “The ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non-sequitur.”

To the contrary, said Mr. Dowd. The Mueller team repeatedly implied that Manafort was linked to Moscow misdeeds by alleging that his office manager in Ukraine, Constantin Kilimnik, was Russian intelligence, he said.

Mr. Dowd said Mr. Mueller never presented evidence to prove the link, but the news media copiously repeated the charge. Mr. Downing argued that Mr. Kilimnik was a State Department asset in Kiev.

“Of course it was about collusion,” Mr. Dowd said. “Special counsel said it was, while hiding the fact that Kilimnik was an asset of our State Department, and claiming a Russian connection. That was the fraud. The sentence was the cruel product of hysterical overreach and exaggerated self-justification for the terrible waste of time and energy. The media mob rules!”

Mr. Downing also blasted the judge after sentencing.

“I think the judge showed that she is incredibly hostile toward Mr. Manafort and exhibited a level of callousness that I’ve not seen in a white-collar case in over 15 years of practice,” he said, according to the AP.

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