Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Jury selected for Michael Sussman trial, lawyer accused of lying to the FBI

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – A jury was selected Monday in the trial of a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign who has been accused of lying to the FBI as it investigated possible links between Donald Trump and Russia in 2016 .

The case against Michael Sussman, a cybersecurity attorney who represented the Clinton campaign in 2016, is the first to arise from an ongoing investigation by special counsel John Durham and the evidence he and his team gathered while investigating the early days. , will test their strength. Trump-Russia investigation for possible misconduct.

Sussman appeared in court with his lawyers on Monday as both sides worked to select jurors for the trial, which is expected to last about two weeks. Potential jurors, who had already filled out questionnaires, filed one by one in the courtroom to answer follow-up questions about topics including political contributions and their opinions on lawyers and the criminal justice system during the 2016 election. .

The jury was finalized shortly after 5 pm on Monday. Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday.

The case alleges a single false statement by Sussman, but even then the stakes are high: an acquittal is likely to spark questions about the purpose of the Durham investigation and cost taxpayers, while a guilty verdict almost certainly will. Will activate Trump supporters who have long visited Durham. Expose what they see as partisan behavior of the former president.

Sussman has been accused of misleading the then-general counsel for the FBI during a September 2016 meeting in which he presented research that he said was a suspected backchannel of communication between the Trump Organization and the computer servers of Russia-based Alpha Bank. It is possible

Prosecutors allege that Sussman lied by saying that he was not attending the meeting on behalf of any particular client, when they say he was actually acting on behalf of two clients: the Clinton campaign and a technology one. Executive who helped collect computer data.

Durham’s team says that if the FBI had been told the truth, it would have been included in the bureau’s assessment of the credibility of Alpha Bank’s claims as it was weighed to launch the investigation. The FBI investigated the matter but ultimately found nothing suspicious.

Sussman’s attorney denies that he lied, but says the alleged false statement is not relevant in any event because there is no evidence the FBI knew or did not know about his political affiliations. that had any bearing on his decision to conduct the investigation.

Durham was appointed in 2019 by then-Attorney General William Barr to look for any misconduct as the US government was investigating possible coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign to tip the outcome of the election. An earlier investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, although it did find that Russia sought to aid Trump’s election bid.

The Alpha Bank case was a peripheral part of the FBI’s investigation and allegations of covert contact were also not mentioned in Mueller’s 2019 report.

Durham’s work has resulted in three criminal cases, but Sussman has only one trial.

In 2020, a former FBI lawyer named Kevin Klinesmith pleaded guilty to altering an email related to secret FBI surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. In applying for a warrant to eavesdrop on Page, the FBI relied on research files of anti-Trump information, colloquially known as the “Steel Dossier”, which contained rumors and unconfirmed claims. .

Last year, Durham accused a Russia analyst, the source of that dossier, of lying to the FBI about his sources of information—among them, a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter. Igor Danchenko has pleaded not guilty. The matter is pending.


Nation World News Desk
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