Clinton Campaign Lawyer Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Grand Jury Charges
Attorney Michael Sussmann charged with lying to the FBI about Russia Hoax
Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann has pleaded not guilty to the federal grand jury's charges that he lied to the FBI about the anti-Trump Russia Hoax.
The grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted Sussmann for making a false statement to federal agents during the FBI's investigations into the existence of the now-debunked allegation of a secret communication channel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank.
According to the indictment, former Perkins Coie attorney Sussmann, who is based in D.C., requested a meeting with the FBI general counsel at the bureau's headquarters in September 2016.
He said he wanted to provide information that he falsely claimed showed collusion between Trump and Russia.
However, the U.S. alleges Sussmann was lying to the FBI general counsel by claiming that he was not bringing forward the information on behalf of a client.
The FBI was led to think he was acting as a concerned citizen when, in fact, according to the Justice Department, Sussmann had assembled the information on behalf of his clients: Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and a tech executive.
Sussmann had also previously represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC), too, in connection with an earlier cyber hack.
Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui released Sussmann on his own recognizance and set a court date of September 22 for a status conference before D.C. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper.
Sussmann faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the charge.
His not guilty plea comes despite his attorneys saying in a statement that he was working "on behalf of a cyber expert client" when he met with FBI General Counsel James Baker.
Nevertheless, attorneys Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth of the law firm Latham & Watkins claimed that the prosecution was "baseless and politically-inspired."
The indictment alleges that Sussmann was working on behalf of a tech industry executive, an American internet company, and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Prosecutors claimed that Sussmann's "lie" was important because it "misled the FBI General Counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work," and because having information such as the identities of Sussmann's clients could have helped them assess the information provided.
The indictment noted that Sussmann previously contradicted his claim that he was not working on behalf of any clients when he appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017.
According to a partial transcript of that interview, Sussmann was asked if it was correct he had contacted the FBI General Counsel of his own volition.
Sussmann replied, "No," then confirmed that he had been working on behalf of a client.
This is the second prosecution to come out of Durham's investigation, following the guilty plea of Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI attorney who had been charged for altering an email, thereby keeping a court from knowing former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page's relationship with the CIA.