Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer will be among the first witnesses against a former colleague who’s charged with lying to the FBI, a prosecutor revealed in court Monday.
Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias could be called to the witness stand at Michael Sussmann’s trial in Washington, DC, as soon as Tuesday, said Michael Keilty, a member of special counsel John Durham’s team.
FBI agent David Martin will be the prosecution’s first witness following opening statements Tuesday morning, Keilty said.
Keilty made the remarks after 12 jurors and four alternates were sworn in for the trial, which is expected to last around two weeks.
Reporters covering the selection process were ordered out of the courtroom to make room for all the prospective panelists and it’s unclear who was picked for the jury anonymous.
Elias, who was general counsel for the 2016 Clinton campaign, was deeply involved in Sussmann’s efforts to give the FBI since-debunked information that purportedly showed a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank, according to Sussmann’s indictment.
Both men were formerly partners at the powerhouse law firm Perkins Coie, with Elias resigning to form his own firm about three weeks before Sussmann was charged in September.
Sussmann quit the day after his indictment was unsealed, with Perkins Coie — which represents the Democratic National Committee — saying he’d been on leave and “offered his resignation from the firm in order to focus on his legal defense.”
Last week, Sussmann’s defense lawyers sought to limit the testimony from Martin, who’s expected to appear as an expert on computer matters.
Court papers said Durham apparently planned to have Martin “cast doubt on the specific data and conclusions that Mr. Sussmann presented to the FBI” and also discuss the “materiality” — or decision-making importance — to the FBI of his alleged false statement.
The defense judge urged Christopher Cooper to bar that testimony on grounds that it would “fall outside the bounds of what the Court ruled it would allow and instead veer into impermissible testimony.”
Sussmann is accused of lying to then-FBI general counsel James Baker when he handed over since-debunked information that purportedly tied to a Trump Organization computer server to Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Durham alleges that Sussmann falsely said he wasn’t “acting on behalf of any client” but was actually working for the Clinton campaign and Rodney Joffe, a tech executive and client who told him about the data.