Lawyer Found Not Guilty of Lying to FBI about Trump-Russia Connection
Michael Sussmann acquitted of charges of lying to the FBI about a tip he submitted regarding Trump’s 2016 campaign.
A jury acquitted lawyer Michael Sussmann in late May of charges that he lied to the FBI in 2016 regarding contact between Donald Trump and a major Russian bank.
The case was brought by Special Prosecutor John Durham, who was appointed by the Trump administration to investigate whether the FBI illegally investigated Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Durham’s probe hopes to shed light on whether Democratic operatives were able to influence the FBI investigation into Trump while he was running for President in 2016.
Sussmann’s trial is the first high profile case of the probe. The not guilty verdict suggests no evidence that the FBI was misled into investigating Trump’s campaign by Sussmann.
In the case, prosecutors alleged that Sussmann lied about his clients and tried to hide his political ties to the Clinton campaign when offering the FBI a tip involving the Trump business and Russian Alfa-Bank. Sussman’s defense argued that he did not lie to the FBI and that his ties to Democrats were well known by the FBI.
Sussmann tipped the FBI to “suspicious contacts between Alfa-Bank computers and servers controlled by Trump’s businesses.” He received this information from cyber experts he represented separately, and passed it on to the FBI to investigate. The FBI investigation ultimately found no evidence of a link between Trump and Alfa-Bank.
Durham alleged that Sussmann hid his political connections, but the trial did not support that claim and found that Sussmann was not submitting the tip on behalf of any of his clients.
Summann’s acquittal comes at the end of a single-count trial that called over a dozen witnesses and lasted almost two weeks. The jury concluded he was not guilty of lying to the FBI after a six hour deliberation.
Durham stated of the decision, "While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury's decision and thank them for their service."