A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss charges against a former attorney for the Clinton campaign at the center of the Russia hoax Wednesday.
Michael Sussmann, a Washington attorney and former federal prosecutor, was indicted by a grand jury in September for making a false statement to the FBI five years prior. The charges stemming from the probe into the origins of the Russia hoax by U.S. Special Counsel John Durham allege Sussmann misrepresented his own capacity to the federal law enforcement agency when making claims of a Kremlin collusion with the Trump campaign. Sussmann told the FBI he was not working on behalf of any clients when instead he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and an anonymous “U.S. technology industry executive” later revealed as Rodney Joffe, according to federal prosecutors.
The disgraced attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charges in February arguing the misrepresentation of his own affiliation was immaterial, and citing Section 1001 of the criminal code which outlaws “a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation.” The judge found Sussmann’s defense claims unconvincing.
“While Sussmann is correct that certain statements might be so peripheral or unimportant to a
relevant agency decision or function to be immaterial under § 1001 as matter of law,” wrote U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, “the Court is unable to make that determination as to this alleged statement before hearing the government’s evidence.”
Prosecutors say Sussmann gave FBI General Counsel James Baker “white papers” in September 2016 supposedly showing discreet communication channels between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions.
Sussmann is one of three individuals to face charges from Durham’s probe to date. Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months probation after pleading guilty in August 2020 to fabricating evidence for a spy warrant on Trump adviser Carter Page. The District of Columbia Bar Association restored Clinesmith as a member in “good standing” in December 2021 despite his role in perpetrating one of the greatest hoaxes in American history undermining the first half of the Trump presidency.
In November, federal authorities also arrested Igor Danchenko, the primary sub-source for the discredited Steele dossier which served as the basis to paint Trump as an undercover creature of the Kremlin.