Correction: This piece originally reported that the special counsel requested an indefinite delay. It was been updated to reflect the request was a joint-filing with the defendant, and was for a 90-day delay. Since original publication, the court has granted the request.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller asked a federal judge Tuesday to reject the four-decade-old speedy trial law in the case against 13 Russians and three Russian companies and has asked for a 90-day delay in his Russian collusion case. The defendant, Concord Management and Consulting, joined in his request, filing a joint motion.
Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Trump appointee, accepted the request, granting “that the period of period May 23, 2018 to August 28, 2018 is excluded for purposes of Speedy Trial Act calculations.” Friedrich had rejected an earlier request from Mueller without comment and ordered the case to go forward. The Speedy Trial Act is a 44-year old federal law that dictates that a federal criminal case must begin within 70 days from the date of the indictment.
The “complexity” of the case warrants excluding the speedy trial law and delaying the trial, the joint motion argued in Tuesday’s court filing.
A “district court can, on its own motion or at the request of a party, grant an excludable continuance if ‘the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial,'” Mueller wrote.
“This case also warrants a continuance and exclusion of time to accommodate the voluminous discovery at issue and to allow sufficient time for the Court to resolve certain outstanding procedural issues unique to discovery in this case,” he continued.
“Speedy trial rights belong to the defendant, and if the defendant pushes for a trial within the 70 days, the government has little cause to complain,” former federal prosecutor and National Review Contributing Editor Andrew C. McCarthy told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Mueller originally filed the indictment against the Russians on Feb. 16, charging that they “engaged in a multi-year conspiracy” to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Because none of the defendants were U.S. citizens, law experts said it appeared unlikely that the case would ever go to trial.
McCarthy called the indictment “more theater than prosecution.”
On May 9, Eric A. Dubelier, a partner with Reed Smith, a prestigious American law firm that represents Concord, entered a not guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Dubelier has repeatedly notified the court he would insist on using “discovery” to review the “evidence” the special counsel had accumulated about their charge of Russian collusion. His use of discovery would compel Mueller to turn over the U.S. intelligence about Russian activities.
In response, Mueller informed the court on May 16 his office was prepared to enter two terabytes of Russian social media into the record, thereby flooding the docket with a huge amount of evidence, all of it in Russian. The volume could fill 3,000 CD-ROM discs.
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