A Washington D.C. jury on Tuesday found Michael Sussmann not guilty of making a false statement to the FBI in September 2016 when he told the feds that he was not working on behalf of any client.
During the trial, which lasted for two weeks, Special Counsel John Durham’s team worked to establish that Sussmann’s statement was a lie, and that he was, in fact, working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe when he presented two thumb drives and a white paper to the FBI alleging a Trump-Russia connection.
Durham’s team presented billing records dated beginning on July 29, 2016 and through October 2016, revealing Sussmann repeatedly billed the Clinton campaign for work on the Alfa Bank opposition research against Trump.
The government, during closing arguments, reminded jurors of a key text message Sussmann sent to Baker on the night before his FBI meeting on September 19, 2016. Durham’s team alleges Sussmann put his “lie in writing” in his September 18, 2016, text to Baker.
The text message stated: “Jim—it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” the text message stated, according to Durham. “Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own—not on behalf of a client or company—want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”
Baker replied, “OK. I will find a time. What might work for you?”
Durham’s team on Friday during closing arguments, said that text message had “43 words” and said “20” of those words were “a lie.”
“The defendant’s own words, own actions, are overwhelming,” government prosecutor Jonathan Algor said Friday. “The evidence has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Sussmann made a false statement to the FBI.”
“You should return the only verdict supported by the evidence in this case—guilty,” Algor closed.
Sussmann did not testify in his defense.
Sussmann trial exhibits have been released. (https://t.co/UeyF71U1to ) Includes some Crowdstrike-FBI-DNC exchanges on the alleged DNC hack.
Here Sussmann edits an FBI press release because the original wording "undermines" the DNC's hacking narrative: https://t.co/UQJnjHvELJ pic.twitter.com/nNrxo6T6t2
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) May 31, 2022
The jury that found Sussmann no guilty reportedly included three Clinton donors, an AOC donor, a strong anti-Trumper, and a woman whose daughter was on the same high school sports team as Sussmann’s daughter.
TURLEY: “I mean, he is facing a jury that has three Clinton donors, an AOC donor, and a woman whose daughter is on the same sports team with Sussmann’s daughter. With the exception of randomly selecting people out of the DNC headquarters, you could not come up with a worse jury” pic.twitter.com/RHqen6AMAc
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 26, 2022
The overwhelming majority of jurors selected reportedly told U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper that they had not heard of the case prior to their jury service.
Cooper, an Obama-appointed judge, did not recuse himself from the case despite being professionally acquainted with Sussmann, and married to lawyer Amy Jeffress, a former top aide to former Attorney General Eric Holder who represented FBI lawyer Lisa Page in a civil case. Attorney General Merrick Garland presided over Cooper and Jeffress’ 1999 wedding.
Critics of the ruling on Tuesday decried what they called the “two standards of justice” plaguing the United States.
“Allowing a continuation of two standards of justice, one where friends of the regime can do anything and get off scot-free and one where opponents of the regime will have their lives destroyed for things that friends of the regime can do, is an existential threat to the country,” tweeted the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway.
Civil rights lawyer Harmeet Dhillon wrote: “Hillary Clinton and her lawyers repeatedly lied to and manipulated a gullible/willing FBI and corrupt media edifice, and continues to get away with it. Nice try John Durham; hope you have more in store. Don’t stop exposing the corruption rotting the FBI’s foundations!”
Despite Durham’s failure to get a conviction, the public did benefit from the trial, said lawyer “Techno Fog.”
“The information disclosed during the trial was important to understand the broader Clinton/Fusion GPS/Perkins Coie effort to poison the public, the press, and the FBI with their Trump/Russia lies,” he wrote on his Substack.
The question, he said, is what Durham’s next move will be.
“We already know that the investigation into Rodney Joffe remains open and that Igor Danchenko faces trial this year. Whether there is more remains to be seen,” he wrote.