Attorneys for Hillary Clinton‘s campaign lawyer asked a court Monday to bar federal prosecutors from using evidence from former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and his debunked dossier in prosecuting their client.
Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is charged with lying to the FBI for not disclosing he was working on behalf of Mrs. Clinton when he told an FBI official about alleged contacts between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization in 2016.
Mr. Sussmann‘s attorneys appear concerned that prosecutors, led by special counsel John Durham, may try to introduce the dossier or testimony from Mr. Steele, who compiled salacious unfounded allegations that Donald Trump had worked with Russian officials to defeat Mrs. Clinton.
“The manner in which the data was gathered, the objective strength and reliability of that data and/or conclusions drawn from the data, and the information that Christopher Steele separately provided to the FBI all have no bearing on the only crime the Special Counsel chose to charge: whether Mr. Sussmann falsely stated that he was not acting on behalf of a client,” his attorneys said in a motion.
Mr. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
At issue is a September 2016 meeting between Mr. Sussman and then-FBI General Counsel James Baker. Mr. Sussmann told the bureau about alleged secret communications between the Trump campaign and a Russian bank.
According to CNN, Mr. Sussmann met with Mr. Steele before his meeting with Mr. Baker. Mr. Steele was hired to conduct opposition research on the Trump campaign through the investigative firm Fusion GPS, which was being funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Within days of the meeting, a story about the FBI investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged back-channel to the Russian bank showed up in major newspapers.
Mr. Sussmann‘s allegations, as well as those in the Steele dossier, were later determined to be false.
In an indictment, Mr. Durham said Mr. Sussmann‘s alleged failure to disclose his ties to the Clinton campaign was material because it misled the FBI “about the political nature of his work.”
Mr. Durham said that had the FBI known that Mr. Sussmann was billing the Clinton campaign for the meeting, it would have treated the information differently.