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‘Knock It off,’ Judge Tells Alleged Russian Troll Farm Lawyer After Making ‘Looney Tunes,’ ‘Animal House’ References

Close of gavel in courtroomClose of gavel in courtroom
‘Knock It off,’ a federal judge tells lawyer for firm indicted by Mueller after he makes ‘Looney Tunes,’ ‘Animal House’ references.Getty Images/Tetra images RF

A judge admonished a lawyer representing an alleged funder of a Russian troll farm—one accused of attempting to manipulate public opinion in the 2016 presidential election—for his “unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective” filings in a case brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In a hearing Jan. 7, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich told Eric Dubelier, “You have undermined your credibility in this courthouse.” Dubelier accused the judge of bias, and said he may have withdraw from representing his client. The judge castigated him again about the language he used to describe Mueller in filings, and Dubelier reportedly said, “I’ve been telling the truth.” The judge then sealed the courtroom.

In a filing dated Jan. 4, a filing by Dubelier on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian company, quoted the movie Animal House” with a partially redacted obscenity: “Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up…you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it.” In October, Dubelier cited “Tweety Bird of Looney Tunes” in accusing the special counsel of shifting arguments in charging documents.

Mueller’s grand jury indicted Concord Management and Consulting in February 2018, claiming it helped fund a group known as the Internet Research Agency. Mueller alleges that group’s workers made a concerted and widespread effort over social media to convince American to vote for President Donald Trump and to attack his opponent Hillary Clinton.

The grand jury indicted a total of 13 Russian individuals and two other Russian companies, and the charges claim that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a long-time Putin ally, controls Concord. The charges were failure to register as foreign agents and failure to report expenditures related to electioneering.