Mens Rea Overview Mens Rea refers to criminal intent.
In this postI suggested there was an important parallel between the structure of the Internet Research Agency indictment rolled out Friday and the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates indictment. Both use a conspiracy to defraud the US of its ability to enforce campaign finance and transparency law as their backbone.
Department of Justice, and the U. Department of State in administering federal requirements for disclosure of foreign involvement in certain domestic activities. Charge 1 in the Manafort indictment alleges conspiracy to defraud the US because the defendants impaired the lawful functions of DOJ and Treasury to require disclosures about foreign political activity in US politics.
From in or about and between andboth dates being approximate and inclusive, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants PAUL J. GATES III, together with others, knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of a government agency, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, and to commit offenses against the United States, to wit, the violations of law charged.
Whatever else is true, both indictments start there, and go onto other related crimes compellingly money laundering for Manafort and identity theft for IRA from there.
Several people have already commented on the use of the conspiracy to defraud as backbone in the IRA indictment. The conspiracy charge is significant because if upheld by a federal court, it shows how additional conspiracy charges might be brought against individuals—even Americans—that help foreigners interfere with our electoral system.
He starts by observing that while evidence of campaign finance violations is abundant, Mueller instead uses only the backbone.
The indictment alleges facts that support charges of federal campaign finance law violations—such as the prohibition on foreign national contributions—but does not charge any such offenses. This is clearly not for want of evidence, since the indictment sets out in considerable detail the millions in foreign national spending to influence the election.
When I pointed out this parallel on Twitter, Jaffer argued the difference was that the Manafort indictment charged FARA violations counts 3 through 6 in addition to the conspiracy to defraud backbone.
Today, you see an indictment brought by an office of Special Counsel using a very novel theory to prosecute Mr. Manafort regarding a FARA filing.
The United States government has only used that offense six times since and it only resulted in one conviction. He instead credibly disputes that Manafort could be expected to believe the law means what it says because it has never been enforced.
Admittedly, immediately after the indictment, there was a surge of compliance with FARA. But that is, itself, testament to the fact that, at least when charged, no one believed FARA was a law.
So we have a range of dysfunctional campaign transparency and finance laws, and two indictments charged as conspiracy to defraud the agencies empowered to oversee those laws, and only thereafter substantiated with more traditional crimes like money laundering and identity theft.
You see the parallel yet? Mueller and his team may have concluded that straight statutory campaign finance allegations rest on too much untested ground and would complicate what may well be the next phase of their investigation.
This consideration would not affect the foreign national side of the case: Foreign nationals are plainly prohibited from spending in the manner detailed in the indictment.
So to sum up thus far: His argument is based largely on the exclusion of FEC charges. Instead, the indictment builds the campaign finance issues into a conspiracy to defraud the United States—it alleges that the Russians conspired to obstruct the capacity of the Federal Election Commission FEC to enforce the law.
The act of obstruction was a failure to report their illegal expenditures. If the FEC did not know about the expenditures, it could not enforce the law. On the face of it, the law prohibits a U. It seems clear that the facts known to date implicate these rules. Some commentators have expressed unease about the constitutional limiting principle that would govern the enforcement of these provisions.
I do not share this view, but it is held strongly in some quarters and, therefore, appropriately and respectfully noted.
The Mueller indictment is conceivably one way to solve this problem. It alleges a conspiracy to prevent the FEC from taking up and addressing the regulatory issues, and American co-conspirators may be brought in on any overt act in furtherance of this illegal scheme. Examples would include U.
That is, Bauer is imagining Mueller might charge Trump associates in a conspiracy with IRA because they did really attenuated things — things like meeting with Russian lawyers in Trump Tower — that are associated with the conspiracy.Following in the footsteps of its precursor, Backbone, performed for the first time in spring in Adelaide, flirting can take us far Steaming hot!
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