Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann pleaded not guilty Friday to a single charge of lying to the FBI’s top attorney.
Sussmann was indicted on Thursday as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. According to the indictment, Sussmann falsely claimed that he was not working for a client when he brought allegations against the Trump campaign to the FBI. That claim led FBI General Counsel James Baker to believe that Sussmann was “acting as a good citizen, merely passing along information,” according to the indictment. (RELATED: Top FBI Official Met With DNC Lawyer On Russia Prior To 2016 Election)
Breaking-Michael Sussman pleaded not guilty to one count of making false statements to a federal agent.
Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui ordered Mr. Sussman released on his own recognizance under certain standard conditions.
Sussman faces faces up to five years in prison if convicted
— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) September 17, 2021
Sussmann and his lawyers did not take questions from reporters upon exiting the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse. He was released on his own recognizance by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui.
Sussmann resigned his partner position at international law firm Perkins Coie on Thursday, shortly after he was indicted by a grand jury. Perkins Coie’s political division represented the Clinton campaign in 2016, and Sussmann practiced in the firm’s cybersecurity division.
Despite telling Baker that he was not representing a client, Sussmann testified to Congress in 2017 that he was working for a tech executive when he approached the FBI general counsel. He also repeatedly billed the Clinton campaign for meetings he conducted, according to the indictment.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller described Sussmann’s main allegation, that the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Alfa Bank, headquartered in Moscow, as “not true,” during his 2019 testimony to Congress.