Prosecutors at the trial of Democratic attorney Michael Sussmann told a jury on Friday that there is “overwhelming” evidence Sussmann lied to the FBI weeks before the 2016 election in order to obscure the role of the Clinton campaign in advancing allegations that then-candidate Donald Trump had a secret computer link to a Russian bank.
During closing arguments at Sussmann’s false-statement trial, special counsel John Durham’s team ridiculed the longtime cybersecurity lawyer’s claim that he was acting independently to help the FBI when he told the bureau’s top attorney of the alleged communications between a Trump server and one for Alfa Bank, the owners of which are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The defendant knew that he had to hide his clients if there was any chance of getting his allegations into the FBI,” assistant special counsel Jonathan Algor said. “It wasn’t about national security. It was about promoting opposition research against the opposition candidate Donald Trump.”
“There are sometimes close cases,” another Durham prosecutor, Andrew DeFilippis, told the jury. “This is not even close to a close case.”
Sussmann’s defense insisted that the former federal prosecutor had not lied to the FBI, but that Durham’s theory was absurd given Sussmann’s extensive interactions with the FBI on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in connections with hacking of their emails.
“Mr Sussmann has HFA [Hillary for America] and DNC tattooed on his forehead. He’s dealing with them all the time,” defense attorney Sean Berkowitz told jurors. “Everybody knew who he was.”
Jurors began deliberating in the case shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, but U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper said he expected no verdict will be returned before Tuesday due to holiday scheduling issues.
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