In an acquittal judgment, a jury refused to convict Russian national Igor Danchenko, who was the main source of British ex-spy Christopher Steele. The four counts included making false statements about his sourcing for the discredited anti-Trump dossier. As a result of Igor Danchenko’s acquittal in a Washington federal court, Special Counsel John Durham was dealt a fresh blow.
Durham was appointed in 2019 by Trump-era Attorney General William Barr to investigate whether Trump campaign members colluded with Russia as part of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. Now, Danchenko was acquitted by jurors on four counts. While in the previous case, the judge had dismissed a fifth charge.
In a statement, Durham said, “While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service.” “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”
As part of a 2021 indictment, Danchenko, a Russian-born researcher who resides in southern Virginia, made five false statements to FBI agents in 2017 about the sources of information that he provided to former British intelligence Officer Christopher Steele.
Danchenko was accused for instance of misleading the FBI by claiming he never communicated with Charles Dolan, a Democratic operative and public relations officer, about anything in the Steele dossier, when they actually had written conversations.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga declared his agreement with the defense and dismissed one of the five charges against Danchenko regarding his communications with Dolan.
In November 2021, Danchenko was charged with 5 counts of making false statements to the office, the trial revealed. Before that, it was revealed that he was on the payroll of the FBI as a confidential human source from March 2017 to October 2020. He pleaded not guilty, reported Washington Examiner.
Danchenko’s attorneys argued that someone who Danchenko suspected was Millian made an anonymous phone call to their client, but he said to agents that he wasn’t sure if it was him.
After the verdict was handed down, Danchenko briefly appeared outside the federal courthouse with his wife and legal team.
In a brief statement, the lawyer of Danchenko, Stuart Sears, said, “We’ve known all along that Mr. Danchenko was innocent. We’re happy now that the American public knows that as well. We thank these jurors for their hard work and deliberations in making the right call, and that’s all we have at this time.”
Another defendant charged by Durham was acquitted of charges of lying to the FBI when he passed along an unfounded tip about possible communication between Trump’s company and a Russian bank in May. Michael Sussmann worked as a lawyer for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
A former FBI attorney, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty to falsifying a document during the office’s attempts to renew surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against Carter Page, Durham’s most notable victory.
Garland vowed, “There will be no political or otherwise undue interference with the Durham investigation.”