Court Battles

Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports

Special counsel John Durham is reportedly seeking the indictment of a lawyer whose firm has close ties to Democrats on charges of lying to the FBI in 2016, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The lawyer, Michael Sussman, whose firm Perkins Coie has previously represented the Democratic National Committee, is expected to be indicted for making a false statement when he raised concerns over whether computer servers linked to the Trump Organization were in convert communications with a Russian bank.

At issue is whether Sussman was telling the truth about whether he was representing a client and who that client may have been, the Post and the Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

During a conversation with the FBI’s then-top lawyer, James Baker, Sussman on Sept. 19, 2016, said he was not representing a client. But congressional investigators said Sussman told them he was there on behalf of a cybersecurity researcher, the Post noted. Sussman denied accusations that he had committed wrongdoing, including claims that he was working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The date of the testimony is significant because the statute of limitations for bringing about charges expires fives years from the date of the meeting, which is this weekend.

Michael Bosworth and Sean Berkowitz, lawyers for Sussmann, said their client had not committed a crime.

“Michael Sussmann is a highly respected national security and cyber security lawyer, who served the U.S. Department of Justice during Democratic and Republican administrations alike,” the two said in a statement to The Hill. “Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime.  Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented, and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work.  We are confident that if Mr. Sussmann is charged, he will prevail at trial and vindicate his good name.”

A spokesperson for Durham declined to comment. A spokesperson for Attorney General Merrick Garland declined to comment to the Times or the Post about the possible indictment.

In 2019, former President Trump tasked Durham with looking into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. So far, only one low-level FBI lawyer has been convicted, according to The Washington Post.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department and Perkins Coie for comment.

Tags Donald Trump FBI Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton John Durham John Durham Justice Department Merrick Garland

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