- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2019

Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys both rested their cases Thursday in the criminal trial of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, who is charged with lying to the Justice Department about his 2012 work for the Ukrainian government.

The case now heads to closing arguments Tuesday afternoon before a jury decides whether to convict venerable Washington lawyer on the felony count.

Mr. Craig and his law firm, Skadden Arps, were hired by the Ukrainian government to assess the country’s widely criticized prosecution of its former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Prosecutors say Mr. Craig took an active role in the report’s public relations strategy, talking to journalists about it and even hand-delivering a copy to David Sanger of The New York Times.

That activity would have required Mr. Craig to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Prosecutors say he lied to Justice Department investigators during a 2013 meeting when he insisted he did not have to register as a foreign lobbyist.

But Mr. Craig contends his contacts with journalists were because he feared the Ukraine government would misrepresent its contacts and he was working against their interests.

Facing a blistering cross-examination Thursday, Mr. Craig said he only provided journalists copies of the report upon request and was not openly soliciting it.

Prosecutor Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez pointed to an email Mr. Craig sent to Mr. Sanger in 2012 saying Ukraine determined he should get first look at the report.

But Mr. Craig fired back that the email included the words “if you are interested,” which he said was evidence he wasn’t promoting the report.

The prosecutor also highlighted an email from Paul Manafort, who was directing the Ukraine project and later went on to become candidate Donald Trump’s campaign chairman.

In the email, Manafort wrote that Mr. Craig’s backgrounding with journalists had “been the key to it all,” describing him as “THE MAN.”

Mr. Craig said he was befuddled by Manafort’s email. He thought his dealings with reporters were contrary to Ukraine’s efforts to promote the report as a vindication.

“I thought my backgrounding had been critical of Ukraine,” he said.

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