In a Durham inquiry, Michael Sussmann was found not guilty of lying to the FBI.
In the first trial of special counsel John Durham’s inquiry, lawyer Michael Sussmann was acquitted of lying to the FBI on Tuesday.
Durham and his Justice Department prosecutors have spent three years hunting for misconduct in the Trump-Russia investigation, and the conviction is a big setback for them.
He alleged Sussmann lied about passing a tip to the FBI about Donald Trump and Russia at a 2016 meeting.
The federal jury in Washington, DC, debated for six hours over two days before reaching a decision.
Sussmann’s argument centered on a meeting he had with James Baker, a friend who was the FBI’s chief counsel, in September 2016.
Sussmann passed along a tip that resulted in a four-month FBI investigation into a suspected internet backchannel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which is related to the Kremlin.
The FBI found no illicit cyber ties and both corporations refuted the claim.
Sussmann hid his ties to Democrats to “manipulate the FBI” and concoct an “October surprise” to assist Clinton to win, prosecutors, claimed.
According to Sussmann, at the height of Russia’s 2016 election meddling, he went to the FBI with a good-faith tip originating from respectable cyber professionals he represented.
He also pushed on Clinton’s behalf to get that unsubstantiated tip out to the press, which resulted in some press coverage. He made no attempt to deceive Baker or conceal his political links, which were well-known within the FBI.