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U.S. judge refuses Russian firm's bid to dismiss Mueller indictment


WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss criminal charges against a Russian company accused by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller of funding a propaganda operation to sway the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor.

The ruling by Judge Dabney Friedrich in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia came after lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting LLC argued the indictment brought against it failed to properly allege a crime.

Concord is one of three corporate entities, along with 13 Russian individuals, indicted by Mueller’s office in February in an alleged conspiracy to tamper with the U.S. presidential race by adopting false online personas to push divisive messages, traveling to the United States to collect intelligence and staging political rallies.

The indictment says Concord is controlled by Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, who has been dubbed by Russian media as Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s cook” and whom U.S. officials have said has extensive ties to Russia’s military and political establishment.

Although Russian officials cannot be extradited to the United States to stand trial, the company hired American attorneys to fight Mueller’s charges.

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