Washington – Donald J. Michael Zuzman, a leading Democrat-affiliated cyber security lawyer, was acquitted Tuesday of lying to the FBI that he was not a 2016 client about possible links between Trump and Russia.
John H., a special adviser appointed by the Trump administration three years ago. For Durham, the ruling was a significant blow to whether there was anything wrong with the Trump-Russia investigation.
Following the public release of a case centered on odd web data discovered in 2016 by cyber security researchers Russia hacked the Democrats And Mr. Trump encouraged the country Hillary Clinton targeted emails.
The researchers said the data could reflect a secret communications channel using servers for the Trump organization and Alpha Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin. The FBI looked at the suspicions briefly and dismissed them.
On September 19, 2016, Mr. Sussman brought the suspicion to a senior FBI officer. Prosecutors allege he lied to the officer that he was not there on behalf of any client, he said. He hid the fact that he was working for Clinton’s campaign and the technical administrator who gave him the tip.
Mr. Using Durham and attorneys’ court filings and trial evidence, Mr. Sussman tried to write to reporters about Alpha Bank’s suspicions while working for a law firm affiliated with the Democratic Party and recording his time in the Clinton campaign.
But it is not a crime to try to force journalists to write such suspicions. Mr. Sussman’s guilt or innocence became a narrow issue: did he make a false statement to a senior FBI official at the 2016 meeting that he would share those suspicions with anyone other than himself?
Mr. Durham used the case to present a major conspiracy: that a joint venture was involved in a conspiracy with Russia, using the FBI to raise suspicions that reporters should write about it. The plan is to include the Clinton campaign. Durham noted; Its anti-research firm, Fusion GPS; Mr. சுஸ்மான்; And an internet security expert who brought him odd data and analysis.
Sharing his view that Russia’s investigation is a “hoax”, Mr. That motive thrilled Trump supporters. In fact, the Alpha Bank affair was a neglect: Mr. The FBI had already begun its investigation on a different basis before Sussman issued the tip; Special Adviser, Robert S. M இறுதிller III’s final statement did not mention Alpha Bank.
But Mr. The case that Durham and his team used to float their broader motives was subtle: publishing a false statement at a meeting with no other witnesses or contemporary references. In a statement condemning Attorney General Andrew Tbilipis and his colleagues, 12 jurors ruled that Mr. They unanimously voted that Sussman was not guilty.
Mr. Some Trump supporters were looking for that result. They pointed to the reputation of the District of Columbia and suggested that an arbitral tribunal may be politically biased against a Trump-era lawyer.
The judge told the jury not to take their political views into account when determining the facts.
Mr. Durham expressed disappointment at the verdict, but said he appreciated the arbitral award, which lasted about six hours.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank the team of investigators and prosecutors for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case,” he said in a statement.
Shortly after the verdict was announced, Mr. Sussmann read out a brief statement to reporters outside the court, thanking the jury, his defense team and those who supported him and his family during the difficult year. He took no questions.
“I told the FBI the truth and today the arbitral tribunal has clearly recognized their unanimous verdict,” he said: “I am relieved that justice has finally been done in this case, despite the false accusations.”
It was only when he thought The New York Times was on the verge of writing an article on the subject that Mr. Sussman brought the matter to the FBI, so he argued that the bureau should not be caught flat.
During the trial, officials testified that Mr. They did not tell or authorize Sussmann to go to the FBI, as doing so was against their interests because they did not trust the Bureau and would slow the publication of any article. Said.
In September 2016, Mr. James Baker was appointed General Adviser to the FBI. Met Sussman. Mr. Baker testified that he had asked Eric Listblaw, a reporter for the New York Times, who works on the Alpha Bank affair, to reduce the workload so that the Bureau would have time to investigate.
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At trial, Mr. Sussmann’s defense team provided the jurors with several possible avenues for release.
During a meeting with the FBI in September, Mr. They attacked whether it was doubtful whether Sussman actually said the words that he had no customers.
The issue became complicated after a text message came to light, in which Mr. Sussman, who had arranged for the meeting a day earlier, noted that he was approaching himself. But the problem was what he said in the meeting.
Mr. Baker, Mr. Sussman said he was “100 percent sure” of repeating those words on his face. But defense attorneys pointed out that he recalled the meeting differently on several other occasions.
Despite the clients being interested in the topic, Mr. The security panel also argued that Sussman was not there on behalf of any client. They also questioned whether it was important that the FBI knew he represented the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, and that agents would have investigated regardless of the allegations.
Friday midnight, the jury, Mr. Sussman asked to see an investigative exhibition to strengthen his defense that he did not consider himself representing the Clinton campaign. For a meeting at FBI headquarters, Mr. It’s a record of taxi journeys spent by Sussman.
He recorded those rides to the company instead of the Clinton campaign, or Rodney Joff, the technology executive, raised suspicions that Mr. He worked with data scientists who brought it to Sussman. His other client who was hiding in the crowd was Mr.
During the trial, prosecutors attributed the detailed hours in the Alpha Bank case to the Clinton campaign on law firm billing records. How Sussman recorded – phone calls and meetings with reporters and his partner at the time, Mark Elias, The. General Adviser to the Clinton Campaign.
Mr. Clinton campaign. Defense attorneys acknowledged that Sussman was a client and argued that he did not work for anyone when he brought the same items to the FBI for the purpose of forcing reporters to write about the matter.
In a statement, Shawn Bergowitz and Michael Bosworth, Mr. Susman’s two attorneys, Mr. Criticized Durham.
“Michael Sussman should not have been the first to be charged,” they said. “This is an extraordinary litigation case. We hope that today’s verdict sends a clear message to anyone who wants to hear it: there is no substitute for political evidence and there is no place for politics in our justice system.
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