Ex-Obama counsel pleads not guilty to charges tied to Ukraine lobbying

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig on Friday pleaded not guilty to a pair of federal charges during his arraignment in a D.C. courthouse. 

Federal Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson ordered that Craig be released on the personal promise that he return to court for future appearances.

He will appear before District Judge Amy Berman Jackson for a status hearing on Monday.


Craig’s attorneys asked that final agreements about Craig’s travel restrictions be discussed during the status hearing on Monday, and Robinson agreed.

Craig was indicted Thursday for allegedly making false statements to investigators and withholding information about work related to Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFox's Napolitano: Roger Stone 'absolutely entitled' to new trial after juror's tweets revealed Jessie Liu resigns after nomination for Treasury post withdrawn: report Bannon says Trump now understands how to use presidential power: 'The pearl-clutchers better get used to it' MORE’s lobbying in 2012 on behalf of pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine.

Manafort hired Craig’s law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, to draft a report about defending the Ukrainian government’s imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko was a political opponent of Manafort’s client, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Craig is no longer with the law firm, which agreed to register as a foreign agent earlier this year as part of a settlement with the Justice Department.

Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign, has pleaded guilty to a slew of charges related to his lobbying work in Ukraine.

Thursday’s indictment alleged that Craig made false statements about his contacts with the media in order to avoid registering as a foreign agent.

Craig, who served as White House counsel in 2009 and 2010, has maintained no wrongdoing in the case.

He said in a video posted Thursday, after his indictment, that he “did not participate in a scheme to mislead the government or conceal material facts.”

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

Updated at 2:51 p.m.