The federal court in the District of Columbia has scheduled Concord’s arraignment for Wednesday, so Mueller filed his papers late last Friday to try to get the matter postponed. But, as Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports, on Saturday evening, Judge Dabney Friedrich curtly denied Mueller’s request. Mueller’s prosecutors had suggested that weeks of briefing were necessary to probe the question of whether Concord had been served properly. As Concord has voluntarily appeared, however, it is not apparent why that question needs examination — if he wants to stand on ceremony, Mueller could just hand the lawyers a copy of the indictment when they see each other in court this week.
In fact, though, Concord’s lawyers have been scrutinizing the indictment very carefully, and making demands for discovery that they say Mueller has ignored for weeks. To put it mildly, this is not a case the special counsel is anxious to try; he is even less thrilled at the prospect of disclosing his evidence and investigative files to a business controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin. Apart from being close to Putin, Prigozhin is personally charged as a defendant in the case — he controls not just Concord but all three businesses charged in the indictment.
By indicting Russian businesses that belong to a Kremlin-connected defendant who cannot be forced to leave Russia, Mueller risked exactly what has happened: one of the businesses showing up to contest the case at no risk, in effect forcing Mueller to show this Kremlin-connected defendant what he’s got, even though he has no chance of getting the Kremlin-connected defendant convicted and sentenced to prison.