The Durham inquiry ends with ex-Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann acquitted

Hillary Clinton’s ex-campaign attorney, Michael Sussmann, was found Tuesday not guilty of providing false information to the FBI in a case involving the highly controversial Trump-Russia probe.

The acquittal verdict is a black mark for Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which has now lost the first case brought to trial. Durham had tried to prove that Sussmann had lied to federal agents when he leaked information about Donald Trump’s alleged ties to a Russian bank during the 2016 presidential campaign. But a DC jury disagreed.

“While we are disappointed with the result, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” Durham said in a expression. “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”

Sussmann, a former attorney for Perkins Coie, was indicted on a single charge of providing false information to the FBI in September 2016 when he met with FBI General Counsel James Baker. Sussmann gave the bureau information allegedly showing a link between the Trump Organization and Kremlin-linked Alfa-Bank.

The FBI launched a four-month investigation into the Trump Organization that found no connection to Alfa-Bank.

Prosecutors alleged that Sussmann pretended to be a concerned citizen without disclosing that he was working for Clinton’s 2016 campaign. They claimed that Sussmann went to the FBI with unverified information to have the FBI investigate Trump, and that the Clinton campaign then leaked details about the case to the press to create an October election surprise.

Sussmann pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. his defenders argued that prosecutors were promoting a “huge political conspiracy theory” and had failed to prove that a crime had been committed. They said the FBI was aware of Sussmann’s political connections and that he went to the FBI in good faith.

The two-week trial ended Friday after testimony was presented by current and former FBI agents, Clinton campaign officials and various technology experts. The jury sat for six hours before returning to their acquittal CNN.

Earlier, Durham’s investigation led to a guilty plea from a young FBI attorney who admitted to forging a document when the FBI tried to renew a FISA court order monitoring Trump’s campaign partner Carter Page.

The special counsel has also indicted Russian expat Igor Danchenko, a source for the infamous and debunked Steele dossier, a discredited opposition research report that falsely claimed Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government. Danchenko faces five counts of false information to the FBI and will appear in court in October. The Durham inquiry ends with ex-Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann acquitted

Laura Coffey

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