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Russian oligarch's company will fight Mueller charges in U.S. court

A firm controlled by an accused mastermind of Russian meddling in the 2016 election is preparing to defend itself.

WASHINGTON — A company controlled by the Russian oligarch accused of helping to mastermind the social media meddling in the 2016 election is preparing to defend itself in court.

Concord Management and Consulting now has two U.S. lawyers, including Eric Dubalier, a white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor in Washington, DC. He and another lawyer in his firm, Katherine Joanne Seikaly, filed notices of their representation Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court.

In February, special counsel Robert Mueller's team charged 13 Russians and Concord Management with pumping out pro-Trump and anti-Clinton messages through social media during the 2016 presidential campaign, pretending that the messages were coming from American individuals and groups. The goal, according to the charges, was "to sow discord in the U.S. political system." The Russians also posed as grassroots American groups and staged political rallies, according to the prosecutors.

The charges said the funding and control for the meddling came from Yevgeniy Prigozhin, one of the wealthiest men in Russia and a close friend of Vladimir Putin's. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on him and two companies he owns, including Concord Management.

An initial appearance for the defendants in the meddling case has been set for May 9. It had been expected that none of them would show up. Now it appears the lawyers for Prigozhin's companies will be there.