Russia's Internet trolls want to see Mueller's evidence, but he says ‘Putin's chef’ has to show up to claim it
It’s all well and good to indict Russia’s “troll factory” for foreign election meddling, until it hires lawyers who demand access to the “unclassified but sensitive” data you used to build your case. That’s the lesson special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have learned in Washington, where his team has asked a federal judge to limit the information that can be shared with Concord Management and Consulting LLC, the corporate power behind Evgeny “Putin’s Chef” Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency.
“As long as Prigozhin chooses not to appear personally in front of this Court, he is not entitled to review any discovery in this case,” prosecutors wrote, warning that the U.S. government “has particularized concerns about discovery in this case being disclosed to Russian intelligence services.” Concord’s attorney, Eric Dubelier, has dismissed the case as a “make-believe electioneering crime” invented by prosecutors.
Dubelier’s statement to the district court has some real zingers, in fact. He calls Mueller an “unlawfully appointed special counsel” and says Mueller’s protective order is based on “a hysterical dithyramb about the future of American elections.” Read the whole thing here.
Who’s Prigozhin again? Evgeny Prigozhin makes headlines for many reasons these days: he’s the rumored founder of the Internet Research Agency, Russia’s most notorious “troll factory,” and he runs a catering empire that wins enormous government contracts. Last year, his businesses won contracts to feed Moscow’s public schools worth 47 billion rubles ($827.2 million). He also allegedly owns the “Wagner” private military company, which has reportedly signed an agreement with the Syrian government to help “liberate, protect, and develop” Syrian oil fields currently occupied by hostiles.