Durham Warns Court: Clinton Campaign Lawyer Must Be Charged
Special Counsel warns against dismissing charge against Michael Sussmann
Special Counsel John Durham has warned a federal judge not to dismiss a charge against a lawyer who lied to the FBI about his ties to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
His lawyers said documents “raised national security concerns” as prosecutors describe them detailing a covert channel between a Russian bank and the business of Donald Trump.
Sussmann falsely told the council he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of his client, even though he presented the information on behalf of the Clinton campaign, according to prosecutors.
Earlier this month, Sussmann’s lawyers moved to dismiss the charge, arguing their client “did not make any false statement to the FBI” and even if he had, "the false statement alleged in the indictment is immaterial as a matter of law."
“Allowing this case to go forward would risk criminalizing ordinary conduct, raise First Amendment concerns, dissuade honest citizens from coming forward with tips, and chill the advocacy of lawyers who interact with the government,” the filing stated.
“The Special Counsel’s unprecedented and unlawful overreach should not be countenanced, and the single count against Mr. Sussmann should be dismissed.”
Durham’s team urged the court not to follow the demand.
Their filing said:
“The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things.
"The critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign.
“The defendant’s efforts to mislead the FBI in this manner during the height of a Presidential election season plainly could have influenced the FBI’s decision-making in any number of ways.”
As Just The News noted:
If the case proceeds to trial, the government expects the evidence to prove that the FBI could have taken steps prior to initiating a full investigation into the matter, including an assessment, and may have delayed a decision until after the 2016 election or ultimately declined to investigate the matter altogether.
Had Sussman revealed he was working on behalf of clients, the FBI counsel and other FBI workers might have asked other questions, including whether those clients harbored biases or motives that might cast doubt on the reliability of the information, and the FBI would have likely conducted “additional, behind-the-scenes steps (database checks, case file searches, etc.) to assess the defendant’s potential motivations and those of his client,” the special counsel’s office said.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama nominee overseeing the case, will now decide whether to dismiss the charge against Sussmann.