Choose rips lawyer as ‘unprofessional’ in Russia probe case

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal decide on Monday reprimanded an lawyer for a Russian firm accused of interfering within the 2016 presidential election, saying his references to Looney Tunes and “Animal Home” in current court docket filings are inappropriate.

U.S. District Choose Dabney Friedrich confronted lawyer Eric Dubelier after his most up-to-date court docket submitting included quotes from the raunchy 1978 comedy “Animal Home” to criticize particular counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

“I’ll say it plain and easily: Knock it off,” the decide instructed Dubelier. The decide’s reprimand prompted a heated back-and-forth through which Dubelier accused Friedrich of bias.

Dubelier has mounted a combative protection of Harmony Administration and Consulting LLC, which Mueller has accused of funding a large-scale Russian conspiracy to make use of web trolls and faux social media accounts to sway American public opinion throughout the 2016 election. The case was the primary introduced by Mueller to instantly connect prison costs to Russian makes an attempt to intrude within the election. Prosecutors say these efforts have been partly geared toward serving to Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

Dubelier has dismissed the case as involving a “made up” crime and accused prosecutors of misconduct.

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Dubelier’s previous court docket filings have quoted the film “Casablanca” and the Looney Tunes character Tweety Chicken to slam Mueller. In his newest criticism, Dubelier insinuated in a court docket submitting that Mueller’s group had improperly obtained info that his consumer shared with a court-appointed lawyer.

Mueller’s group denied any impropriety. However Dubelier scoffed, utilizing a quote for emphasis from character Eric “Otter” Stratton, one of many leaders of the fictional Delta Tau Chi fraternity in “Animal Home.”

“The Particular Counsel’s argument is paying homage to Otter’s well-known line, ‘Flounder, you’ll be able to’t spend your entire life worrying about your errors! You f(asterisk)(asterisk)ked up . . . you trusted us. Hey, make the most effective of it,’” Dubelier wrote, utilizing stars to censor the profanity.

On Monday, Friedrich mentioned she wasn’t amused, calling his conduct “unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective.”

Dubelier then accused Friedrich of bias, an allegation she rejected, saying: “Mr. Dubelier, you’ve gotten had many inappropriate remarks in your filings and you already know it.”

“Your Honor, that’s your opinion,” Dubelier fired again. He additionally raised the prospect of his withdrawing from the case, saying he’ll focus on together with his consumer whether or not the corporate nonetheless desires to retain him in mild of the decide’s feedback.

Harmony Administration was indicted final yr together with 15 different defendants within the first case introduced by Mueller to instantly connect prison costs to Russian makes an attempt to intrude within the election. Not one of the different Russian defendants has appeared in a U.S. court docket to face the costs.

Harmony is managed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a rich businessman often called “Putin’s chef” for his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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