A federal judge gave a Russian firm charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election another chance to comply with a Justice Department subpoena in a contentious hearing Monday.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich told lawyers for the firm, Concord Management and Consulting, they have until Wednesday to produce documents or she may impose a daily fine on the company.
“I feel like I should give Concord one last chance,” the judge said.
The court order angered Concord attorney Eric Dubelier, who insisted that the company had complied with the subpoena. He repeatedly asked the court if he could confidentially vouch for the subpoenaed documents, which the judge denied.
Judge Friedrich, who was appointed by President Trump, refused to have Mr. Dubelier vouch for the subpoenaed materials saying he was not a representative of the company as required by federal law.
The decision prompted outrage from Mr. Dubelier.
“There are two rules here. Rules for them and rules for us,” he said, raising his voice and pointing at the federal prosecutors’ table.
Mr. Dubelier said the Wednesday deadline is unreasonable to given the time difference between the United States and Russia.
“You are giving me 24 hours,” he said. “That is completely unfair.”
Concord is accused of financing a Russian troll farm that meddled in the 2016 election. The case is one of the last remaining threads from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
A trial is scheduled to begin on April 1.
Federal prosecutors have inherited the case from Mr. Mueller’s team, which wrapped up last year. A trial is scheduled to start on April 1.
Prosecutors had asked Concord to turn over documents about its corporate structure, financial records and internet addresses. They said the company had only turned over some of the requested materials
“Our view is that Concord is in contempt,” said prosecutor Adam Jed. “At this point, we would ask for the standard remedy, which is a daily fine until they prove they have complied with the subpoena.
Concord was among two Russian business and 25 Russian individuals indicted by Mr. Mueller in February 2018. Only Concord has fought the charges in federal court, but they have dragged the case out by disputing routine procedures and challenging nearly every aspect of it.
Mr. Jed told the court the Justice Department has become frustrated with Concord’s legal games.
“We have to question whether Concord is really participating in the case,” he said. “In some sense, it seems like Concord really isn’t here.”
The remark prompted outrage from Mr. Dubelier.
“He has no basis whatsoever to allege Concord isn’t participating,” he told the judge. “It’s outrageous.”