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Prosecution: ‘overwhelming’ evidence of indictment for Clinton campaign lawyer


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“There are sometimes issues that converge,” Andrew DePhillips, another attorney general in Durham, told the jury. “This is nowhere near as close as possible.”

Sussman’s defense insisted that the former federal prosecutor had not lied to the FBI, but Durham’s theory was absurd given Sussman’s extensive interactions with the FBI on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee regarding the hacking of their emails.

Mr. Sussman has HFA [Hillary for America] The DNC is tattooed on his forehead. “He deals with them all the time,” defense attorney Shawn Berkowitz told jurors. “Everyone knows who he is.”

Jurors began deliberating the case shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, but US District Judge Christopher Cooper said he expects no ruling before Tuesday due to problems with holiday scheduling.

The two-week trial is the first courtroom test for Durham, who was tasked by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2019 to examine the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties. Two months before the 2020 election, Barr elevated Durham to the position of Special Counsel, which gives him greater autonomy and could complicate any effort to dismiss him.

Democrats have criticized Durham for using an alleged marginal lie to spread the broader narrative that the Clinton campaign made false allegations against Trump, which proliferated in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and impeded the Trump presidency.

Berkowitz said prosecutors’ suggestions that Sussman was about to do something treacherous in his attempt to draw attention to the alleged server links were naive and ultimately irrelevant to the legal case.

“Opposition research is not illegal. If that were the case, Washington, DC prisons would be overcrowded,” the defense attorney said.

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However, the Durham team said that Sussman’s alleged lie amounted to an assault on the independence of the FBI.

“You can see the motive here: It was the creation of the October Surprise,” Devillips said. No one has the right to arm a law enforcement agency to advance a political agenda. They are not democrats. They are not Republicans.”

US District Judge Christopher Cooper has limited testimonies and evidence at trial about whether or not the secret server’s allegations Sussman made to the FBI had merit, even though jurors heard the FBI concluded they were unfounded. of health. But prosecutors also have to prove that Sussman’s alleged lie was “substantial,” meaning it could affect the FBI’s investigation in a significant way. The defense repeatedly ridiculed the FBI investigation, arguing that it was so swift and left so many potential leads unexplored that whether or not Sussman mentioned an agent.

It was lousy. It was embarrassing,” Berkowitz said of the FBI’s work.

The prosecution acknowledged that the FBI’s work was not first class, but insisted that those errors were a distraction from the main issues in the case.

“They missed opportunities. “They made mistakes,” Dephilipes said. “They kept the information about themselves…that’s inappropriate.”

Despite the prosecution’s claims that they filed a court case against Sussman, the evidence that the former federal prosecutor lied is almost entirely circumstantial.

The motive behind the argument from the Durham team is that because Sussman was deeply involved in Clinton campaign efforts to research and promote the Alpha Bank allegations, he must have been acting in that capacity when he went to FBI General Counsel James Baker on September 19, 2016.

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During his closing arguments, Algor pored over a slew of billing records from the law firm Perkins Coye, explaining that Sussman had several meetings and calls in the summer of 2016 with chief technology officer, Rodney Joffe, who promoted the server story. Sussman was also in meetings with Clinton campaign general counsel Mark Elias about what billing records describe as a “secret project.”

However, Sussman’s lawyers argued that despite his work on the server’s allegations and his contacts with the media, when he went to the FBI, he was simply alerting the office to what he believed to be an upcoming New York Times article about the secret server’s allegations. FBI employees testified that such an alert might be helpful to the bureau in undermining the alleged ties before the media drew attention to the issue.

For months, Sussman’s defense argued that the evidence for what their client said in the meeting with Baker was shaky, due to conflicting accounts given by the former FBI official and inconsistencies in notes later made by other Justice Department officials about whether they believed Sussman was. or not working for a client.

However, in March of this year — six months after the Durham team filed the indictment against Sussman — Baker discovered a text message from the day before the September 2016 meeting. In it, Sussman wrote what Baker had now said exactly what Sussman had said in the one-on-one discussion at Baker’s office at FBI headquarters.

“I have something time-sensitive that I need to discuss,” Sussman wrote. “I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – I want to help the office.”

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Algor gave a big bill Friday for that provision, which the prosecution didn’t have when it chose to bring a single false statement charge against Sussman.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the accused used 42 words in that text message and 20 of them were a lie,” Algor told the jury. “I want you to remember that text message he sent to Mr. Baker.”

Berkowitz emphasized that his client is not mandated to lie in the recently discovered text message, but only at the September 19 meeting. “There is no doubt that Mr. Sussman sent this text… It is a real statement, by the way. He sent that. We own it,” the defense attorney said. “That is not what was charged in this case.”

But the prosecution noted that Sussman’s claim in the transcript that he would come alone conflicts with testimony he gave before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, in which he said, “I think it is more accurate to say that this was done on behalf of my clients.”

“There is no way to reconcile these statements,” Devillips said.

The defense attributed Sussman’s testimony in the House of Representatives to “confusion” and argued that the entire question of whether he was acting “on behalf” of the Clinton campaign or other agents was so vague that it should not be the basis for a criminal charge.

“These are not necessarily specific terms,” ​​Berkowitz said.

Elias, the lead attorney for the Clinton campaign, made a similar comment on the witness stand last week. He said, “On behalf of ‘something resembling self-intention’.”

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