(FOX NEWS) -- In a striking and unexpected abandonment of a once-heralded prosecution initiated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Justice Department moved Monday to drop charges against two Russian companies that were accused of funding a social media meme campaign to further their “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”
Late Monday, with jury selection in the case set to begin in just two weeks, a federal judge granted the DOJ's motion to kill the prosecution for several counts of conspiring to defraud U.S. agencies tasked with combating election interference. The government acknowledged the Russian companies were never likely to actually face punishment anyway and cited possible national security risks with going forward to trial.
Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering were among three companies and 13 individuals charged in February 2018 by Mueller. Their alleged criminal effort included social media postings and campaigns aimed at dividing American public opinion and sowing discord in the electorate, officials said, although no impact on voters was ever demonstrated.
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