Two years ago, before he was approached about defending an obscure Russian company charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Eric Dubelier scanned the indictment simply out of interest in the high-profile case.

Dubelier, a partner at the law firm Reed Smith, recalls being struck by what he read. With its allegations of Russians posing as Americans online to sow discord and support President Donald Trump, the indictment appeared to strike at the core of the Mueller team’s mandate to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. But, to Dubelier, the document fell short, alleging what he summarized, dismissively, as a “make-believe crime.”

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