A Russian company tied to a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin entered a not-guilty plea Wednesday in a U.S. criminal case charging that it funded internet trolls and polarizing social media advertisements in a bid to boost Donald Trump’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office allege that the firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, was controlled by a Russian oligarch known as Putin’s chef, Yevgeniy Prigozhin. He is one of the 13 individuals charged in the case.
Neither Prigozhin nor any officer or owner of Concord Management showed up at the U.S. district court in Washington for the brief arraignment hearing. However, two U.S. attorneys, Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of law firm Reed Smith, represented the company.