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Case against Clinton attorney in attorney’s investigation may proceed


WASHINGTON (AP) — Criminal charges against a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer accused of lying to the FBI during the Trump-Russia investigation may go forward, a judge ruled Wednesday, rejecting a bid to the defense to dismiss the case.

The decision means that Michael Sussmann, indicted last year by special counsel John Durham, is due on May 16 in federal court in Washington.

Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI during a September 2016 meeting where he raised concerns from cybersecurity researchers about a possible secret channel of communication between Trump Organization servers and Alfa Bank. , based in Russia. The FBI investigated the matter but ultimately found no suspicious links.

Prosecutors allege Sussmann misled the then-FBI general counsel by saying he was not attending the meeting on behalf of a particular client when he was in fact presenting the information on behalf of the Clinton campaign and a technology executive he had worked with.

In order to prosecute someone for a false statement, the Department of Justice must prove that the statement was not only fictitious, but also “material”, i.e. capable of influencing decision-making or functions. of a government agency.

In this case, Durham’s team says that if the FBI had known that Sussmann was representing the interests of the Clinton campaign at the meeting, they would have done more to examine his motives and the reliability of his information as he considered d open an investigation based on the tip he provided.

Sussmann’s lawyers argued that his ties to the Clinton campaign were already well known to the FBI and dismissed the idea that this relationship could have materially influenced the FBI’s decision to investigate.

U.S. District Judge Christopher “Casey” Cooper said in a six-page ruling Wednesday that the dispute was ultimately up to a jury to decide.

“The battle lines are thus drawn, but the Court cannot resolve this impasse before trial,” Cooper wrote.

Durham, a former U.S. attorney from Connecticut, was appointed in 2019 by then-Attorney General William Barr to seek government misconduct during the investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 and possible links to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Sussmann is one of three people charged so far. The other two are Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to altering an email and was probated, and Igor Danchenko, a Russian analyst and source for Steele who was accused in November of lying to the FBI during a 2017 interview.


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