And after all of that, the Russian troll farm’s American lawyers have the last laugh?
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia led by former William Barr aide Timothy Shea has filed a motion to dismiss the case against Concord Management and Consulting LLC, which has often been referred to as the Russian troll farm defendant. Concord Management was one of many people or entities charged in a Feb. 2018 indictment by then-special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Thirteen Russians and three companies were charged in the indictment. Federal prosecutors now want to dismiss their case against Concord Management.
“The United States will continue its efforts to apprehend the individual defendants and bring them before this Court to face the pending charges, but because substantial federal interests are no longer served by continuing with the proceedings against the Concord Defendants, the government moves, respectfully, to dismiss with prejudice Count One of the indictment as to them,” the filing said.
The Department of Justice alleged that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch nicknamed “Putin’s chef,” and Concord bankrolled the troll farm as part of a massive conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election.
Along the way of this prosecution there have been some seriously bizarre moments, in many instances thanks to Concord’s America-based counsel. Some of the greatest hits:
On Monday, the government said that continuing this prosecution does not promote justice or America’s interests:
Upon careful consideration of all of the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events and a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination, as well as other facts described in more detail in a classified addendum to this motion, the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord, a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction, promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security. The government has therefore decided that the calculation of whether a substantial federal interest is served by this prosecution, see Justice Manual § 9-27.230, has changed since the indictment was returned, and the better course is to cease litigation as to the Concord Defendants.
In closing, Shea’s office moved to dismiss the indictment as it pertains to Concord Management–forever (i.e., with prejudice). Prosecutors said, in part, that the risk of exposing American law enforcement methods was real.
“In light of the defendant’s conduct, however, its ephemeral presence and immunity to just punishment, the risk of exposure of law enforcement’s tools and techniques, and the post-indictment change in the proof available at trial, the balance of equities has shifted,” the filing said. “It is no longer in the best interests of justice or the country’s national security to continue this prosecution. And although the time and resources expended to-date have been considerable, that factor ‘deserves no weight and should not influence’ our decision.”
[Image via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images]