U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, has denied a Russian firm's attempt to have charges of election interference dropped.
In a Thursday filing, Friedrich ruled against Concord Management and Consulting's motion to dismiss charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Concord's attorneys had argued that the charges should be dismissed because there is "no such crime" as "interfer[ing] in a U.S. election."
But in his 32-page ruling, Friedrich struck down each of Concord's arguments.
"Count I of the indictment—the sole count against Concord—charges that Concord and others 'knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of State in administering federal requirements for disclosure of foreign involvement in certain domestic activities,'" the judge notes.
Friedrich goes on to explain why he decided to "deny Concord’s motion."
"These cases establish only that the government will have to show—through direct or circumstantial evidence—that Concord had the intent to impair one of the three specific lawful functions alleged in the indictment," Friedrich says. "Whether it can do so successfully or not, the indictment has alleged that intent, and no more is required at this stage."
Earlier this year, Friedrich upheld Mueller's appointment in the Russia investigation and his authority to indict Concord.
Read the full decision here.