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Sussmann trial begins in May

U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper on Wednesday denied a motion by Michael Sussmann to dismiss the charge of lying to the FBI, confirming that the major ‘collusion with Russia’ trial will begin in May in federal court from DC

Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI when he said he was merely acting as a private citizen reporting information purporting to link then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia through Alfa Bank in 2016. information was false, but was part of the “Russian collusion” conspiracy theory that has upended the political world, led the FBI to inappropriately monitor at least one Trump campaign aide, and undermined the president’s legitimacy democratically elected.

In pretrial motions, Special Counsel John H. Durham revealed evidence against Sussmann that also appeared to implicate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, current National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and others in an alleged ” conspiracy”.

FILE – This 2018 portrait released by the US Department of Justice shows Connecticut US Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor leading the probe into the origins of the Russia investigation. Durham is no stranger to high-profile and scrutinized investigations, having previously explored the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques after the September 11 attacks and corruption in the FBI office in Boston. (US Department of Justice via AP)

In a ruling released Wednesday (via TechnoFog), President Barack Obama-appointed Judge Cooper wrote:

Sussmann’s sole argument for dismissal is that, even assuming the allegations in the indictment to be true, his alleged misrepresentation to Baker was immaterial in law and therefore cannot warrant a conviction…

The standard of materiality…in this circuit is whether the utterance has “a natural tendency to influence, or is capable of influencing, either a discrete decision or some other function of the [government] the organization to which it was addressed. … Focusing on the first part of the standard, Sussmann argues that his alleged statement to Baker – that he was not at the meeting on behalf of a client – ​​could not have influenced what was, to his opinion, the only “quiet decision” before the Bureau at the time: whether to open an investigation into the Trump campaign’s assertive communications with the Russian bank.

At the outset, Sussmann’s argument that the materiality of his statement should be assessed only in relation to the FBI’s decision to open an investigation rests on too narrow a conception of the applicable test. It largely ignores the second part of the test: whether the statement could influence “any other function” of the agency. In applying this part of the materiality standard, the DC Circuit said that “a ‘false misrepresentation of an investigation already underway’ would also violate Section 1001.” … Sussmann seeks to confine this position to statements made during an ongoing investigation, but the Court sees no basis for this clear line. As the special advocate argues, it is at least possible that statements made to law enforcement before an investigation could significantly influence the subsequent trajectory of the investigation. Sussmann offers no legal authority to the contrary.

The special counsel also argues that Sussmann’s statement significantly influenced the conduct of the FBI investigation once it was underway.

The lines of battle are thus drawn, but the Court cannot resolve this impasse before the trial. … [I]That’s a question a jury usually has to answer.

The trial is set for begin on May 16, though further proceedings — such as a possible plea deal — could change that.

Joel B. Pollak is editor of Breitbart News and host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Sunday nights from 7-10 p.m. ET (4-7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book Neither Free Nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His latest book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is the winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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