Russiagate Special Counsel John Durham may have a more difficult time securing a conviction against Clinton campaign Attorney Michael Sussman after text evidence of him allegedly lying to the FBI was thrown out in court today.
Sussman is accused of lying to the FBI after presenting shoddy evidence linking President Trump to the Russian Alfa Bank. He claimed that he was not representing the Clinton campaign when he presented the evidence. At the same time, prosecutors allege that he was working on behalf of her campaign to gin up a phony investigation against Trump.
Durham possessed text evidence that Sussman lied to the FBI when he texted the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, to set up a meeting with him.
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“Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. 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.” Sussman texted him.
The issue is that Durham was not aware of the texts until after Sussman was indicted, meaning they were not pled as a false statement when Sussman was charged.
Absent the text evidence; all Durham has to rely on is testimony from Baker, who said that Sussman claimed he was not representing a client when they met.
However, Sussman’s defense team has poked holes in Baker’s testimony, showing evidence that his past statements regarding their meeting have been inconsistent. Since the meeting was not a formal FBI interview, no other FBI agent or counsel was present to corroborate Baker’s claims.
Durham must now convince the jury that Sussman made a false statement based solely on their in-person meeting.
We will have to see if that is convincing enough on its own.