Without an order from the court stopping Mueller's office from pursuing other charges in the future - based on an appointment order that Downing contends was unlawful - Manafort would have to "sit and wait" and keep chasing the special counsel's office wherever they made a decision to prosecute him next in order to challenge Mueller's appointment, Downing said.
A federal judge expressed doubts Wednesday about a lawsuit brought by Paul Manafort challenging special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's criminal probe of Russian interference in 2016 USA elections.
He did not elaborate on what charges he believed could be pressed against his client.
The 33-year-old worked closely with Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former deputy chairman Rick Gates, both of whom have been indicted with money laundering, conspiracy and tax fraud. But a partly redacted memo included in court filings late Monday night revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein authorized Mueller to pursue allegations that Manafort colluded with Russian Federation in 2016.
A newly unveiled August 2, 2017, classified memo from Rosenstein to Mueller that gives more detail, directing the special counsel to investigate Manafort's payments related to his work in Ukraine and possible collusion with Russians on the election, wasn't central to Wednesday's hearing. An amended complaint is expected.
Downing said he didn't contest that Mueller could investigate possible links between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign, but he said Mueller shouldn't be able to also examine "any matters that arose or may arise directly" from his probe. In a report unclassified in January 2017, USA intelligence agencies said the Kremlin wanted to help Trump.
None of the charges Manafort faces alleges coordination with the Kremlin, and Manafort's attorneys had used that point to argue that Mueller had exceeded his authority by bringing charges against him accusing him of various financial crimes and acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Ukrainian interests.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, seen here November 2, challenged his indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller in a federal lawsuit.More news: MILITARY TO BORDER: Trump to DEPLOY US TROOPS to Protect Southern Border
Paul Manafort, right, leaves the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, with his attorney, Kevin Downing, left, in November 2017.
The argument came at a hearing this morning in the civil analogue to Manafort's criminal prosecution.
Additional sections of the two-and-half-page memo were blacked out by prosecutors, indicating that Rosenstein authorized other specific lines of investigation that remain a secret.
Downing said that he couldn't cite any cases and that his was the first challenge of its type.
"Chasing indictment after indictment is not an adequate remedy", Downing said.
The memo, which had not previously been released publicly and remains redacted in parts, said Mueller was empowered to investigate allegations that Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials" to interfere with the presidential election.
Mueller's investigatory mission "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian-associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs". He has pleaded not guilty. "And prosecutors would naturally follow the money trail from Manafort's Ukrainian consulting activities", they wrote.
In particular, they argued that prosecutors' knowledge of Manafort's Ukraine work did not arise directly from Mueller's probe but instead grew out of separate Justice Department inquiries dating to 2014. "Because investigation of those matters was authorized, so was prosecution".