Bad News for Russia Defendants: Mueller Appointment Was Lawful

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 26, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Robert Mueller won another round in the Russia investigation, fending off a challenge to his authority as special counsel.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his appointment in the case, In Re. Grand Jury Investigation. Andrew Miller had sued to void the special prosecutor's subpoena.

A former aide to Roger Stone, Miller was held in contempt for refusing to comply with the subpoena. Now things look worse for both men and dozens of other people charged in the case.

Held in Contempt

Miller was held in contempt last August after he refused to appear before a grand jury in the Russia probe. He asked the DC Circuit to intervene, saying the special prosecutor's appointment was unconstitutional.

His lawyer, Paul Kamenar, argued that Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had no right to appoint the special prosecutor. But the appeals court said the Constitution's appointment clause allowed it.

"Special Counsel Mueller was properly appointed by a head of a Department, who at the time was the Acting Attorney General," Judge Judith Rogers wrote for the panel.

Judges Sri Srinivasan and Karen Henderson concurred in affirming the contempt.

Stone Connection

Miller plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for review, but still faces jail and other possible consequences. Mueller's office is expected to issue a report on the investigation soon.

In the meantime, Stone barely escaped contempt in his own case. He has been indicted for allegedly obstructing justice and lying to Congress.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson could have revoked his bail, but instead tied him up with a tight gag order after he made a controversial post about her on Instagram.

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