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Court rejects US Special Counsel Mueller’s motion to postpone hearing on Russia’s case

The meeting remains scheduled for 9 May
Special Counsel Robert Mueller AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Special Counsel Robert Mueller
© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON, May 6. /TASS/. The US District Court for the District of Columbia has decided not to uphold Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s request to postpone the May 9 court hearings where charges to 13 Russian citizens and three Russian organizations should be announced, according to the court’s document obtained by TASS on Saturday.

The charges concern Russia’s alleged interference into the US presidential elections in 2016.

On Friday, a motion was submitted by representatives of the Special Counselor to postpone the first hearing on the case due to procedural issues. On Saturday, lawyers of the Russian organization Concord Management and Consulting, which is one of the defendants, protested, saying that this would only lead to an unnecessary delay in the process. They also stated that, Mueller's request had no legal grounds.

"Upon consideration of the Government's motion to continue initial appearance and arraignment and the opposition of defendant Concord Management and Consulting LLC, it is ordered that the Government's Motion is denied. The initial appearance and arraignment of Defendant Concord Management and Consulting LLC remains scheduled for May 9, 2018," according to the court’s document.

Dispute over the date

The hearings were due to take place on March 20, but were postponed until May 9. The representatives of the respondents - Russian firms Concord Management and Consulting and the Internet Research Agency - are expected to appear in court, where the charges against them will be read out.

Initially, the U.S. authorities assumed that the accused individuals and legal entities would simply ignore the charges and court summons, but in April it became clear that the Concord Management and Consulting would be represented by two lawyers. Shortly thereafter, these lawyers appealed to the office of the Special Counselor and demanded a number of documents of the investigation, as well as a lot of evidence and other information on the case. The team of the Special Counselor said that the lawyers demanded that the prosecution should provide them with non-public documents on the investigation, and after that they asked the judge to postpone the hearings scheduled for May 9.

According to the prosecutors, the court hearing should be postponed due to the fact that at the moment it is unknown whether Concord Management and Consulting received summons to the court or not. The lawyers of the Russian party voiced their strong disagreement.

US accusations

In February, the US authorities have issued official charges with the alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election in the US to thirteen individuals and three organizations in Russia.

The documents suggest that the authorities had formed a grand federal jury, which had confirmed the charges against the Russian citizens and organizations, issued by the team of special counsel Robert Mueller. The jury found that the accusations had legal grounds.

One of the thirteen persons embraced by the charges is businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The other twelve persons are Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevitch Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov.

The list of the three organizations includes the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg, which Washington claims has taken part in the efforts "to defraud the US" since 2014 by "impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of government" through an ostensible interference with the American political processes and electoral procedures.