U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper turned down a request from Special Counsel John Durham for a ruling that a lawyer facing trial on a false statement charge as part of a wide-ranging “joint venture” involving Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Democrat operatives, and Fusion GPS.
Judge Cooper’s ruling limits evidence and testimony prosecutors can offer against attorney Michael Sussmann at a jury trial scheduled to begin later this month.
The ruling spares the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee the potential embarrassment of a federal judge finding they were part of a coordinated effort to level since-discredited allegations that candidate Donald Trump or his allies maintained a data link from Trump Tower to Russia’s Alfa Bank. The Clinton campaign disseminated that claim amid a broader effort to call out Trump’s ties to Russia at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies had revealed efforts by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.
Sussmann whose firm at the time, Perkins Coie, represented Hillary’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee has been charged with lying to the FBI in September 2016, when he approached the bureau’s top lawyer James Baker with what he described as evidence of links between Trump Tower and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
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