You’ve heard that prosecutors have so much influence over grand juries that they can “indict a ham sandwich.” An embarrassing moment for Special Counsel Robert Mueller occurred in court the other day when the lawyer for one of the three Russian companies he indicted had some bizarre news for the judge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey asked Eric Dubelier, one of two lawyers representing the accused Russian company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, if he was representing a third company listed in Mueller’s indictment.
What about Concord Catering?” Harvey asked Dubelier. “The government makes an allegation that there’s some association. I don’t mean for you to – do you represent them, or not, today? And are we arraigning them as well?”
“We’re not,” Dubelier responded. “And the reason for that, Your Honor, is I think we’re dealing with a situation of the government having indicted the proverbial ham sandwich.”
“That company didn’t exist as a legal entity during the time period alleged by the government,” Dubelier continued. “If at some later time they show me that it did exist, we would probably represent them. But for purposes of today, no, we do not.”
Scott Johnson explains how Mueller got caught in his own PR gambit:
In “Robert Mueller would prefer not to” we took a look at Special Counsel Mueller’s reluctance to proceed with criminal case he has brought against Concord Management, one of the three Russian entities he has indicted. There I noted that Mueller appeared not to anticipate that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, Mueller seems to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.
Concord Management is half owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. According to the indictment, “Concord Management and Consulting began operations in 2014 with the intention to financially support a group known as the Internet Research Agency which interfered with the 2016 United States Presidential election won by Donald J. Trump.”
Concord Catering does exist today but apparently was not around in 2016 during the presidential campaign. It would have been difficult for them to have interfered in an election when they had not been created yet.
Not surprisingly, this little byplay between the judge and lawyer has not been widely reported. The fact that it makes Mueller look foolish and incompetent might have something to do with that.