Clinton Campaign Staffers May Be Called to Testify in Durham Probe, Court Docs Show
Special Counsel John Durham submits court filings citing Hillary Clinton campaign
Hillary Clinton and her 2016 election campaign staffers could soon be called to testify before a grand jury for the investigations by Special Counsel John Durham into the origins of the anti-Trump "Russia hoax."
According to a recent court filing by Durham, people who worked for Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign could be called to testify on the circumstances that led to the FBI's "Crossfire Hurricane" Russia-Trump investigation.
The disclosure from Durham’s team came as they tried to convince a judge to explore potential conflicts of interest involving lawyers Danny Onorato and Stuart Sears.
Danchenko, a Russian analyst, was indicted by a grand jury last month on five false statement charges.
Danchenko allegedly lied to FBI agents when questioned about information he provided to ex-British spy Christopher Steele, best known for compiling the fabricated dossier that U.S. officials used to investigate President Donald Trump and his campaign.
The problem, Durham’s team said, is that Onorato and Sears work at a law firm that also employs a lawyer who represents the 2016 Clinton campaign and former employees of that campaign in matters before the special counsel.
That could pose a conflict of interest.
Earlier investigations uncovered how the Clinton campaign retained the Fusion GPS firm to perform opposition research on Trump and his affiliates; Fusion GPS then hired Steele and his firm to probe Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
“Thus, the interests of the Clinton campaign and the defendant could potentially diverge in connection with any plea discussions, pre-trial proceedings, hearings, trial, and sentencing proceedings,” the filing states.
Areas of inquiry that may become issues at Danchenko’s trial or sentencing include the Clinton campaign’s knowledge or lack of knowledge concerning the veracity of information in the dossier and meetings or communications between and among the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and/or Steele involving Danchenko.
“In addition, in the event that one or more former representatives of the Clinton campaign (who are represented by defense counsel’s firm) are called to testify at any trial or other court proceeding, the defendant and any such witness would be represented by the same law firm, resulting in a potential conflict,” Durham’s team said.
Onorato and Sears have told the team that their colleague representing the campaign has had no involvement in the case involving Danchenko and will “wall himself off” from future involvement, while separate support staff inside the firm, Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears, will be assigned to each case.
“Notwithstanding the potential conflicts involved, the government believes that this potential conflict is waivable, should the defendant so choose, assuming a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver is executed,” Durham’s team said.
Onorato and Sears earlier this month replaced attorneys Christopher Schafbuch and Mark Schamel, as requested by Danchenko.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, a George W. Bush nominee overseeing the case, has not yet responded to the filing.
Danchenko’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2022.
He is out on bail.
The jury trial he’s requested is currently slated to start in April 2022.