Paul Manafort’s Latest Publicity Stunt

What should we make of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s lawsuit against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the Justice Department? Here are some initial thoughts.

First of all, Manafort’s charge that Mueller acted outside of his authority by indicting him is an extremely unusual move. If an indictment can be challenged legally, typically the defendant files a motion to dismiss that indictment as part of the criminal case.

It’s hard to see why Manafort chose to file this as a civil lawsuit instead of filing a motion in the criminal case. My initial reaction is that Manafort, an expert in the dark arts of manipulating public opinion, wants to gain additional media exposure without putting this in front of the judge who would ultimately sentence him if convicted.

This suit has almost no chance of success. Even if it succeeded, another federal prosecutor could indict Manafort for the same crimes, so it’s a pointless suit. He’s counting on the public (or conservative allies) to take this publicity stunt seriously. Don’t.

 Image: Win McNamee/Getty 

About the Author(s)

Renato Mariotti

Formerly a Federal Prosecutor in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois Follow him on Twitter (@renato_mariotti).