Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Charges Against Clinton Lawyer

A federal judge ruled against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann on Wednesday, denying his motion to dismiss the criminal charges he is facing.

Sussmann sits at the center of the investigation into the Russia hoax launched against President Donald Trump during and after the 2016 election. He is a Washington attorney and former federal prosecutor who was indicted by a grand jury last September. He has been charged with making false statements to the FBI.

The Sussmann case stems from the probe by U.S. Special Counsel John Durham into the creation of the false allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The charges allege that Sussmann lied about who he worked for when he spoke with FBI agents regarding alleged collusion between Trump and the Kremlin.

Sussmann told agents he was not working on behalf of any client when in reality he was working for the Clinton presidential campaign. He was also performing services for an unnamed “American technology industry executive” who was later revealed by prosecutors to be Rodney Joffe

Sussmann filed a motion to dismiss the charges in February, arguing that any misrepresentations he made about who he represented did not qualify as “materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent” as required by the criminal statute.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper denied the motion, writing in his ruling that it may be correct that some of his statements could be considered so “peripheral or unimportant” to any FBI function to not trigger the application of the criminal law. However, the judge ruled that determination could not be made in a preliminary manner before hearing the government’s evidence about the allegedly false statements.

Durham’s prosecutors have alleged that Sussmann provided “white papers” to FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 that detailed allegedly secret communications between the Trump campaign and Alfa Bank, one of the largest Russian banks.

Sussmann and two other persons have been charged as a result of Durham’s probe so far.

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty in August 2020 to fabricating false evidence to support a secret court surveillance warrant to spy on Trump advisor Carter Page. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation.

Federal agents arrested Igor Danchenko last November. He is alleged to be a primary source that led to the generation of the infamous Steele dossier that was used to portray Trump as being under the control of the Kremlin.

Sussmann’s trial is now scheduled to begin May 16.