- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2019

A federal judge on Friday set a start date for the trial of Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian company charged in connection with interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections.

The trial will begin April 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich wrote in a scheduling order issued from a federal court in Washington, D.C.

Concord is among a number of Russian entities and nationals charged as a result of the criminal investigation into the 2016 election undertaken by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Federal prosecutors allege Concord funded and oversaw the operations of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” accused of interfering in the election on social media.

Internet Research Agency employees ran social media accounts during the race that were used to conduct what the company internally referred to as “information warfare against the United States,” according to the Justice Department. Prosecutors allege the accounts staged political rallies in the U.S. and posted content disparaging to former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during what the government has assessed to be a broad attack from Russia against various elements of the U.S. electoral system and the Clinton campaign.

The Justice Department unsealed an indictment in early 2018 charging counts of criminal conspiracy against Concord and the Internet Research Agency, as well as their alleged mastermind, Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a related company and several other individuals implicated in their operations.

American lawyers representing Concord pleaded not guilty to all counts on the company’s behalf in May 2018.

A total of 34 individuals and entities were criminally charged as a result of the Justice Department’s investigation into the 2016 election, which was led by former special counsel Robert Mueller and lasted nearly two years prior to ending this past March.

Others charged as a result of Mr. Mueller’s probe include several former members of Mr. Trump’s election campaign, as well as the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Cohen pleaded guilty and is in prison, and Flynn pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Concord will not be the next defendant from the special counsel probe to stand trial, however. Proceedings for Roger Stone, Mr. Trump’s indicted former campaign adviser, are currently scheduled to start next month in D.C. He has been charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and perjury and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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