WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - A Russian company accused of bankrolling efforts to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign says that a "nude selfie" is among the materials collected by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his ongoing probe.
A lawyer for the firm, Concord Management and Consulting, made an offhand mention of the purported photo in a court filing on Thursday (Dec 27).
"Could the manner in which he (Mueller) collected a nude selfie really threaten the national security of the United States?" attorney Eric Dubelier said in the filing.
The document provides no further details on the selfie, such as who is depicted in the photo and when or where it was taken.
Concord is owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian businessman known as "Putin's chef" due to his close relationship to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The firm has pleaded not guilty to a February indictment charging it, 13 Russian individuals and two other companies with conspiracy in an effort to trick Americans online into following and promoting Russian-fed propaganda that pushed 2016 voters towards then-Republican candidate Donald Trump and away from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Concord is the sole defendant to appear in court in the indictment of Russian entities under Mueller.
Thursday's filing was related to Concord's motion to disclose discovery in the case.
Earlier this year, a federal judge approved a request to tightly control how evidence is shared with the firm, ruling that prosecutors had provided "ample good cause" that sharing sensitive case materials could imperil ongoing US national security investigations.
Concord's attorneys said at the time that it was critical that their defence strategy include Prigozhin.
But prosecutors warned that Concord's requests would reveal government investigative techniques and identify cooperating individuals and companies as well as personal information of US identity theft victims whose data was used in the plot.
In the latest filing, Dubelier said that he and other attorneys are working their way through "millions of pages of allegedly sensitive discovery" and accused Mueller himself of being "ignorant of the information available to the general public of the collection techniques he used in this matter".
He added that while his effort was "likely fruitless," he was compelled to object "both for Concord and every other defendant to whom the Special Counsel believes the laws and rules of the United States no longer apply to his novel adventures."