In an effort to protect government sources and investigative methods, Justice Department prosecutors will drop charges against two Russian companies, Concord Management and Concord Consulting, indicted by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller for financing operations behind interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The two companies, along with Internet Research Agency and a cadre of 13 Russian nationals leveraged social media to sow division and influence the 2016 presidential election, with some of the activity intended to bolster then presidential candidate Donald Trump and erode support for his opponent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a 37-page indictment filed by the Mueller team in February 2018.
“The conspiracy had as its object impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to enable the defendants to interfere with U.S. political and electoral process, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the indictment read.
The Justice Department’s move comes a month before the case is supposed to go to trial and in a motion to dismiss filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia acknowledged Concord’s concerted efforts to get the case dropped.
“In short, Concord has demonstrated its intent to reap the benefits of the Court’s jurisdiction while positioning itself to evade any real obligations or responsibility,” the filing read.
Prosecutors noted due “the risk of exposure of law enforcement’s tools and techniques, and the post-indictment change in the proof available at trial, the balance of equities has shifted. It is no longer in the best interests of justice or the country’s national security to continue this prosecution.