Hackers stole Russian Federation probe evidence, prosecutors say

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Prosecutors working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III claimed Wednesday that more than 1,000 nonsensitive files turned over to the defense team for an indicted Russian company were leaked by hackers in a cyber-disinformation campaign that appeared to be aimed at discrediting the government's investigations of "Russian interference in the us political system".

Prosecutors cite a Twitter account that surfaced a year ago purporting to have a stolen copy of evidence provided to the company.

Russian Federation got evidence gathered by Robert Mueller, the U.S. Special Counsel, and leaked it online trying to discredit his investigation of Moscow's meddling in the U.S. politics, as The Guardian reported.

Special counsel Robert Mueller claimed Wednesday that evidence in one of his criminal cases related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign was recently used in an online disinformation campaign, apparently to discredit Mueller's investigations.

The prosecutors' filing said the matching files included images of political memes from Facebook and other social media accounts used online by the Internet Research Agency, many of which are presumably still available elsewhere on the Internet, but not with the unique identifiers used in materials turned over by prosecutors.

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Prosecutors say self-described "hackers" published documents shared with the defense - and that the government consequently should be permitted to hold back information that might otherwise get revealed if shared.

Some file folder names and folder structure on the webpage matched what the Mueller team had produced.

The claims were made in a filing on Wednesday in his investigation into Russian election interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign. The Kremlin denies election interference and President Trump denies there was any collusion, calling the inquiry a political witch hunt.

The filing is the latest in the legal wrangling between Mueller's team and Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, a Russian firm owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a reported associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the indictment, prosecutors said Russian defendants adopted false online personas to push divisive messages, travelled to the United States to collect intelligence and orchestrated political rallies while posing as U.S. citizens. Somewhat confusingly, the filing argued that many other file names used a reference to the Relativity database, which the U.S. government "has not used" to store materials related to this case. His company Concord did hire American lawyers, however, to fight the charges. Prosecutors say it employed hundreds of individuals for online information warfare operations and had an annual budget equaling millions of US dollars. They have asked the judge not to let Concord distribute the materials electronically to people in Russian Federation.