Federal judge considers setting ex-Obama counsel's trial for August: reports

A federal judge is considering setting the trial for former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig for August, according to multiple media reports.

The reports noted U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson appeared receptive to an August trial date during a hearing Monday, as suggested by Craig’s attorneys.

But The National Law Journal reported that one of the federal prosecutors in the case, Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez, resisted the suggestion of an early August trial, saying the government was “hoping to get a little more time than that.”

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Craig, who left the Obama White House in early 2010, was indicted last week on charges that he made false and misleading statements to the Justice Department about lobbying work for Ukraine that Craig’s now-former law firm was hired to do in 2012 by Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortPoll: Nearly half of Republicans say no one on Trump campaign committed a crime It is wrong to say 'no collusion' The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? MORE, who was President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE's onetime campaign chairman.

Federal prosecutors allege that Craig made false statements about his media contacts surrounding the release of a report the law firm — Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — wrote about Ukraine’s imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Craig pleaded not guilty to the charges last week.

His lawyer said during Monday’s hearing that Craig will argue that he cannot be charged for omitting facts to federal investigators, according to media reports.

“That is not the law, but that is what this indictment is based on,” Craig’s attorney William Taylor said during the hearing, The Washington Post reported. “That is what this case is going to be about.”

Berman gave both parties until June 21 to enter legal filings on whether Craig had violated federal law, the Post reported.

The judge also ordered that Craig turn over his passport to authorities and seek permission before traveling internationally.

He is allowed to travel within the U.S. without seeking permission, but must give officials his itinerary two business days before any domestic trip.

The charges against Craig originally stemmed from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation, before the matter was referred to the Southern District of New York and then again to the Justice Department.

Craig has maintained that he did no wrong in the case, saying in a video posted after his indictment last week that it "is unprecedented and unjustified.”

"I am confident that both the judge and the jury will agree with me," he said.

Craig left Skadden last year. The law firm reached a settlement with the Justice Department in January, agreeing to register as a foreign agent and pay the Treasury Department $4.6 million over its work for Ukraine.