Trump-era special counsel confirms charges against attorney for firm with Democratic ties


He has been a cybersecurity attorney at the law firm Perkins Coie, which has close ties to the Democratic Party, for 16 years. A colleague of Mr. Sussmann’s, Marc Elias, was the general adviser to the Clinton campaign. He left the law firm last month.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that Mr Sussmann had also left: “In light of the special counsel’s action today, Michael Sussmann, who was on leave from the company, tendered his resignation from the company to focus on its legal defense, and the company accepted it.”

The charges against him center on a September 19, 2016 meeting with FBI attorney, James A. Baker, in which Mr. Sussmann expressed concern about the strange internet data. Cybersecurity researchers had said it could be evidence of clandestine communication channels between computer servers linked to the Trump organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

The case against Mr. Sussmann revolves around Mr. Baker’s recollection that Mr. Sussmann told him that he was not at the meeting on behalf of a client – which Mr. Sussmann denies saying. There were no witnesses to their conversation.

According to the indictment, Mr. Baker later briefed another FBI official — apparently Bill Priestap, the bureau’s top counterintelligence officer. about the meeting, and that in the notes of Mr. Priestap states that Mr. Baker told Mr. Sussmann said he “didn’t do this for any customer”. (It’s not clear whether such notes would be admissible at trial.)

In 2017, Mr. Sussmann testified under oath before Congress that he represented the unnamed technology manager, and his legal team agrees that the executive was his client at the meeting, but the only one.

However, the in-house law firm’s billing records show that Mr. Sussmann spent his time on Alfa Bank affairs on the Clinton campaign, the indictment says, alleging the campaign was also his client. Those records would also show that Mr. Sussmann has repeatedly met or talked about Alfa Bank with Mr. Elias.

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