Claiming innocence, Clinton campaign lawyer Sussmann filed a motion to dismiss Durham’s charges claiming “extraordinary prosecutorial overreach.”
Sussman’s filed his motion to dismiss on Thursday. He asserts that Durham’s indictment “fail[s] to state an offense.” According to Fox News, Sussman is charged with making a false statement to a federal agent and has pleaded not guilty.
Durham’s indictment alleges that Sussmann made false statements to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016. His statements appear to have been designed to undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Hillary Clinton has attempted to dismiss the charges as “nonsense.”
Sussmann’s legal team insists their client “did not make any false statement to the FBI.” Attorneys added that the false statement alleged in the indictment is “about an entirely ancillary matter” and “immaterial as a matter of law.”
Arguing that charges against Sussmann are unwarranted, his attorneys said:
“It has long been a crime to make a false statement to the government. But the law criminalizes only false statements that are material—false statements that matter because they can actually affect a specific decision of the government,” the lawyers wrote, adding that, by contrast, false statements “about ancillary matters” are “immaterial and cannot give rise to criminal liability…
“Accordingly, where individuals have been prosecuted for providing tips to government investigators, they have historically been charged with making a false statement only where the tip itself was alleged to be false, because that is the only statement that could affect the specific decision to commence an investigation,” the lawyers wrote.
“Indeed, the defense is aware of no case in which an individual has provided a tip to the government and has been charged with making any false statement other than providing a false tip. But that is exactly what has happened here.”
Attorneys for Sussmann state that their client “voluntarily” met with the FBI in the fall of 2016 to “pass along information that raised national security concerns.”
“He met with the FBI, in other words, to provide a tip,” Sussmann’s lawyers wrote, according to the Fox report. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the tip he provided was false. And there is no allegation that he believed the tip he provided was false…
“Rather, Mr. Sussmann has been charged with making a false statement about an entirely ancillary matter—about who his client may have been when he met with the FBI—which is a fact that even the Special Counsel’s own Indictment fails to allege had any effect on the FBI’s decision to open an investigation…
“Allowing this case to go forward would risk criminalizing ordinary conduct, raise First Amendment concerns, dissuade honest citizens from coming forward with tips, and chill the advocacy of lawyers who interact with the government…
“The Special Counsel’s unprecedented and unlawful overreach should not be countenanced, and the single count against Mr. Sussmann should be dismissed,” they added.
Durham’s Feb. 11 indictment notes that Sussmann provided two U.S. government agencies with information from tech executive Rodney Joffe. That information attempted to link candidate Donald Trump to Russia-based Alfa Bank and colluding with the Russian government to sway the election in his favor.
According to the Fox report, Durham’s complaint asserts that Joffe and his team “exploited” internet traffic pertaining to a “particular healthcare provider,” Trump Tower, Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and the Executive Office of the President of the United States in order to “establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative'” to then bring to federal government agencies tying Trump to Russia.
Durham’s filing states Sussmann’s “billing records reflect” that he “repeatedly billed the Clinton Campaign for his work” on the Alfa Bank allegations.
On Monday, Sussmann’s legal team demanded that the court “strike” portions of Durham’s filing, arguing it will “taint the jury pool.” They claimed:
“Unfortunately, the Special Counsel has done more than simply file a document identifying potential conflicts of interest. Rather, the Special Counsel has again made a filing in this case that unnecessarily includes prejudicial—and false—allegations that are irrelevant to his motion and to the charged offense and are plainly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool.”
Durham charges that the internet company Joffe worked for “had come to access and maintain dedicated servers” for the Executive Office of the President as “part of a sensitive arrangement whereby it provided DNS resolution services to the EOP.”
The Fox report notes that according to Durham, “Tech Executive-1 and his associates exploited this arrangement by mining the EOP’s DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump.”
A spokesperson for Tech Executive-1, denied allegations and defended his work on Tuesday.
“Upon identifying DNS queries from Russian-made Yota phones in proximity to the Trump campaign and the EOP, respected cyber-security researchers were deeply concerned about the anomalies they found in the data and prepared a report of their findings, which was subsequently shared with the CIA,” Joffe’s spokesperson said.
Sussmann reportedly claimed he “provided data which…reflected purportedly suspicious DNS lookups by these entities of internet protocol (IP) addresses affiliated with a Russian mobile phone provider,” noting that the lookups “demonstrated Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.”
Durham countered, “The Special Counsel’s Office has identified no support for these allegations,” adding that the “lookups were far from rare in the United States.”
“For example,” Durham wrote, “the more complete data that Tech Executive-1 and his associates gathered–but did not provide to Agency 2–reflected that between approximately 2014 and 2017, there were a total of more than 3 million lookups of Russian Phone-Prover 1 IP addresses that originated with U.S.-based IP addresses. Fewer than 1,000 of these lookups originated with IP addresses affiliated with Trump Tower.”
Dorham added that data collected by Joffe also found that lookups began as early as 2014, during the Obama administration and years before Trump took office, which he said, is “another fact which the allegations omitted.”
Durham also asserts that during “his meeting with Agency-2 employees, the defendant made a substantially similar false statement as he made to the FBI General Counsel. In particular, the defendant asserted that he was not representing a particular client in conveying the above allegations…
“In truth and in fact, the defendant was representing Tech Executive-1–a fact the defendant subsequently acknowledged under oath in December 2017 testimony before Congress, without identifying the client by name.”
Some suggest Durham’s investigation could have a more significant impact on the country than Watergate as it points to wrongdoing among key members of the Clinton campaign, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the CIA.
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