Ex-Obama counsel Greg Craig found not guilty of lying over Ukraine-related work

Ex-Obama counsel Greg Craig found not guilty of lying over Ukraine-related work
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A federal jury on Wednesday acquitted former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig over allegations he lied to the federal government about his work with Ukrainian officials.

The jury's decision came after a day of deliberations, The Wall Street Journal reported.

At issue was whether Craig deliberately misled the Department of Justice about the nature of the legal work he did in 2012 for Ukraine's government.

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Prosecutors had accused Craig of violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act by misleading authorities about the nature of his work and whether it required him to register. Prosecutors alleged that Craig had hid his work with Ukraine to protect his chances of working in a future Democratic administration.

The jury on Wednesday, though, acquitted Craig of a felony false-statement charge. A federal judge had already dismissed another charge against Craig in August.

Craig had maintained his innocence for months following his indictment in April and said in a video that he “did not participate in a scheme to mislead the government or conceal material facts.”

“This prosecution is unprecedented and unjustified,” Craig said at the time. “I am confident that both the judge and the jury will agree with me.”

Craig took the stand in his own defense during the trail.

Craig and his former law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP were hired in 2012 by Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? Nadler seeks interviews with DOJ prosecutors that left Stone case MORE to draft a report defending the Ukrainian government's imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko, a political opponent of Manafort’s client at the time, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

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In January, Craig's former firm agreed to register as a foreign agent over its work for pro-Russia political leaders in Ukraine. Craig left the firm in April.

Craig was the first major Democratic figure to be charged from a probe stemming from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's investigation. 

The verdict also marks a blow for the DOJ in what was a high-profile prosecution as the agency looks to crack down on unregistered foreign lobbying.

Manafort in 2016 would also serve as President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE's campaign chairman. He was found guilty last year of bank fraud, tax fraud and efforts to hide his own work for Ukraine's government from U.S. officials.

Updated at 4:19 p.m.