Judge Denies Sussmann Motion To Dismiss Case, Trial Will Begin Next Month
A federal judge has denied a motion from former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann to dismiss the case brought against him by Special Counsel John Durham.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ordered on Wednesday that the trial will move forward and begin next month.
In a court filing, Cooper outlined the charges against Sussmann brought by the Durham impaneled grand jury last year.
“Specifically, Sussmann allegedly told Baker that he was not attending the meeting on behalf of any client when, in fact, he had assembled and was conveying the information on behalf of two specific clients: (1) a technology-industry executive named Rodney Joffe and (2) the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign,” Cooper wrote.
“The FBI opened an investigation based on the information Sussmann provided, but ultimately determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the existence of a communication channel between the Trump campaign and the Russian bank,” Cooper wrote. “Sussmann has pled not guilty to the charge and denies lying to the FBI.”
Cooper wrote that Sussmann’s “sole argument for dismissal” of his case is that “even taking the allegations in the Indictment as true, his purported misrepresentation to Baker was immaterial as a matter of law and therefore cannot support a conviction” under U.S.C. 1001 – making false statements to a federal agent.
“The court will deny the motion,” Cooper wrote, noting that the standard for materiality under U.S. code is “whether the statement has ‘a natural tendency to influence, or is capable of influencing, either a discrete decision or any other function of the [government] agency to which it was addressed.’”
Cooper said that Sussmann “largely ignores the second part of the test: whether the statement could influence ‘any other function’ of the agency.”
“Sussmann seeks to cabin this holding to statements made during the course of an ongoing investigation, but the Court sees no basis for that bright-line divide,” Cooper wrote. “As the Special Counsel argues, it is at least possible that statements made to law enforcement prior to an investigation could materially influence the later trajectory of the investigation. Sussmann offers no legal authority to the contrary.”
More and more damaging evidence continues to surface against Hillary Clinton in Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.
Last month, a federal judge rejected a bid by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann to “strike” a “factual background” section of Special Counsel John Durham’s early February court filing.
Sussmann’s legal team filed a motion demanding that the court remove portions of the Feb. 11 filing that included the “Factual Background” section by claiming that it would “taint” a jury.
“I’m not going to strike anything from the record,” noted U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Christopher Cooper during a status hearing. “Whatever effect the filing has had has already passed.”
“Allowing this case to go forward would risk criminalizing ordinary conduct, raise First Amendment concerns, dissuade honest citizens from coming forward with tips, and chill the advocacy of lawyers who interact with the government,” the filing stated.
SUSSMAN MOTION TO DISMISS IS DENIED!!!https://t.co/Fw1T3SLVsR
— Durham is Coming (@Durham_isComing) April 13, 2022
Durham’s team responded by calling his claims “absurd” and asked the federal court in the District of Columbia to proceed.
“And far from being immaterial, they went on to say that ‘the defendant’s false statement was capable of influencing both the FBI’s decision to initiate an investigation and its subsequent conduct of that investigation,” the filing continued.
In its response to the Sussmann filing, Durham’s team noted: “The defendant’s false statement to the FBI General Counsel was plainly material because it misled the General Counsel about, among other things, the critical fact that the defendant was disseminating highly explosive allegations about a then-Presidential candidate on behalf of two specific clients, one of which was the opposing Presidential campaign.”
“The defendant’s efforts to mislead the FBI in this manner during the height of a Presidential election season plainly could have influenced the FBI’s decision-making in any number of ways,” Durham’s team continued.
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