At the false-statement trial of Democratic attorney Michael Sussmann, jurors saw conflicting evidence about whether the lawyer was acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign when he approached the FBI weeks before the 2016 presidential election with evidence of an alleged covert computer link between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia.
The jury was shown by prosecutors for special counsel John Durham, that Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for computer thumb drives purchased days before he delivered two such drives to FBI general counsel James Baker while making a presentation about the potential server links.
By saying he wasn’t acting on behalf of a client when he met Baker at FBI headquarters in Washington to alert the Bureau to the alleged computer traffic, the single criminal charge in the case against Sussmann accuses him of lying.
An entry on Sussmann’s expense reports on Sept. 13, 2016, six days before his meeting with Baker, reflects a $58.56 billed to the Clinton campaign for thumb drives, per report.
However, he bought multiple thumb drives that day, according to a receipt from a Staples store near Sussmann’s office in downtown Washington, D.C., raising the possibility that some were billed to the campaign and others were not.
Sussmann’s defense pointed to another expense submission explicitly linked to his Sept. 19 meeting at the FBI: $28.00 for taxi fares that day. Those fares were charged to a generic business development account at his then-law firm, Perkins Coie.
Defense attorney Michael Bosworth pointed out that “it’s not billed to Hillary for America.”
Michael Keilty, an assistant special counsel, showed jurors an email Sussmann sent to an assistant on Sept. 20, instructing her to record four-and-a-half hours of work for the Clinton campaign the previous day for “work on written materials; other work and multiple telephone conferences regarding confidential project.”
Another email was shown by Keilty, which Sussmann sent two days before the November election, asking that 3.3 hours of work be recorded for the Clinton campaign on Sept. 19 for “work and comms regarding confidential project.” Whether the latter entry was supposed to replace the former or supplement it, it was not clear.
Sussmann’s attorneys have not indicated publicly whether he plans to take the stand, while the defense appears to be nearing a decision about whether to call Sussmann to testify in his own defense.
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