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.

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 ManafortDemocrats return to a battered Trump Manafort's legal team argues NY prosecution constitutes double jeopardy Clip surfaces of Paul Manafort and wife on Nickelodeon game show 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.

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) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal 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 TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy 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.