"Obscure special status" has been "obtained" by some lawyers on the Special Counsel's team. They function "not only as representatives of Mueller's office but as special assistant United States attorney's attached to the United States attorney's office there."
May 21, 2018, "Under the Radar," Politico, Josh Gerstein on the Courts, Transparency, and More. "Josh Gerstein is a senior White House reporter for POLITICO."
"Mueller team's special status could save Virginia Manafort case."
Several court filings indicate that when lawyers from Mueller's office appeared in federal court in Alexandria earlier this year, they did so not only as representatives of Mueller's office but as special assistant United States attorneys (SAUSAs) attached to the United States attorney's office there.
That designation gives the Mueller prosecutors a kind of dual status that could complicate any attempt by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III to try to shift the case to federal prosecutors based in Alexandria — a possibility the judge mentioned on a couple of occasions during a contentious hearing earlier this month.
A spokesman for Mueller's office, Peter Carr, confirmed to POLITICO that some of the attorneys on the special counsel's team have the SAUSA status. Carr pointed to a local federal court rule that allows federal prosecutors to handle cases there when "appearing pursuant to the authority of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia."
One lawyer who has studied the use of SAUSAs said the granting of that status to lawyers on Mueller's team theoretically gives them the authority to pursue matters that aren't within the special counsel's mandate.
"As special assistant U.S. attorneys, they are not confined to the scope the special counsel is acting under," said Haley White, a North Carolina attorney who wrote a 2015 law review article on the SAUSA phenomenon. "They can potentially have the ability to go outside that scope. ... They have all the powers and abilities that just a regular U.S. attorney would have."
At least four of Mueller's prosecutors have submitted court pleadings indicating they have SAUSA status: Andrew Weissmann, Greg Andres, Kyle Freeny and Scott Meisler.
It's unclear at precisely what point Mueller's lawyers acquired their SAUSA status. If it was before the first indictment against Manafort in Virginia was obtained on Feb. 13, 2018, Manafort's defense could lose much of its argument that the indictment is tainted because it was sought by prosecutors who lacked proper authorization. However, if prosecutors didn't have that status when obtaining search warrants in Virginia and Washington last year, there could still be legal questions about evidence obtained through those searches.
Mueller's response to Manafort's motion to dismiss the Virginia case does mention some court decisions related to SAUSAs, but doesn't explicitly argue that the SAUSA status negates much of Manafort's argument about Mueller's team being unauthorized or exceeding its mandate.
With Mueller pursuing separate criminal cases against Manafort in Washington and Alexandria, it could be that Mueller's team wanted to keep their arguments in the two cases parallel as Manafort attacked [questioned] the special counsel's authority in both courts. The SAUSA argument would not have been open to Mueller's team in Washington, because they don't have that status in D.C., where Justice Department attorneys routinely appear in federal court without any special appointment. (In any event, Mueller's team didn't need the argument in Washington, since the judge there rejected Manafort's challenge last week.)"...
[Ed. note: Politico still has not raised the only question that matters: Who in US government granted some on Mueller's team additional "obscure special status" of US attorneys reporting to particular districts rather than the federal government or even to Mueller? The remainder of this article is just filler to divert readers' attention and waste their time.]
(continuing): "In the Virginia case, Manafort is facing charges of bank fraud, tax evasion and failing to report foreign bank accounts. The Washington indictment charges Manafort with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for his work related to Ukraine.
The use of SAUSAs has provoked some controversy, particularly when U.S. attorneys rely on the mechanism to appoint state or local prosecutors to pursue cases in federal court that ran aground in state courts. U.S. attorneys' offices have also used the SAUSA status to augment their prosecution staff with unpaid volunteers who are often buffing their résumés with federal court prosecution experience.
However, some scholars have warned of dangers in the SAUSA phenomenon, with U.S. attorneys' offices blurring lines of responsibility with other entities and sometimes giving local prosecutors an option to avoid the urban jury pools of their local courts. U.S. attorneys seem to make uneven use of the SAUSA arrangement, with some offices rarely, if ever, relying on it and one office reporting more than 50 SAUSAs on its rolls."