‘A Look, A Leak And A Lie’: Durham Prosecutor Sums Up Case Against Sussmann On Day One Of Trial

REUTERS/Julia Nikhinson

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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A prosecutor with special counsel John Durham’s team summed up the case against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann as “a look, a leak and a lie” during opening arguments Tuesday.

Sussmann, a Democratic lawyer with ties to Clinton’s 2016 campaign, was charged by Durham last year with lying to the FBI during a 2016 meeting. The court heard opening arguments Tuesday at a courthouse in D.C., and Durham-team prosecutor Deborah Brittain Shaw argued that Sussmann “used and manipulated the FBI,” Law and Crime reported.

Shaw also described Sussmann as a man who tried to “create an October surprise on the eve of the presidential election,” according to Law and Crime. That “October surprise,” according to Durham’s team, involved three steps.

First, the “look” — when Sussmann met with Christopher Steele, a former British Intelligence agent responsible for the now-debunked anti-Trump dossier.

Durham previously said Sussmann and Steele met in 2016 at the Perkins Coie offices to speak about possible connections to Russia, according to Fox News. In one court filing, Durham accused Sussmann of “represent[ing] and work[ing] for the Clinton campaign in connection with its broader opposition research efforts,” the outlet reported.

The second part of of the case, according to Shaw, is the “leak.”

This references allegations from the prosecution that Sussmann, alongside others that included “agents of the Clinton campaign,” sent out various “allegations and … derogatory information about Trump and his associates to the media and the U.S. government,” Durham previously noted.

Durham recently argued that a slew of emails sent by Fusion GPS, the opposition firm hired by Clinton’s 2016 campaign that subsequently hired Steele, resulted in various news articles tying together Trump and Russia. (RELATED: ‘As Wrong As It Gets’: Rep. Jim Jordan Calls Out Liberal Media And Democrats For Denying That Trump Was Spied On)

“If rendering such advice was truly the intended purpose of Fusion GPS’s retention, one would also expect the investigative firm to seek permission and/or guidance from [the Clinton campaign] or its counsel before sharing such derogatory materials with the media or otherwise placing them into the public domain,” Durham previously wrote in a court filing arguing that Fusion GPS’s research should not be covered by attorney-client privilege, The Washington Times reported.

Finally, the “lie.” This, according to Durham’s team, represents when Sussmann went to the FBI – and is what Sussmann now faces charges over.

“No one should be so privileged as to walk into the FBI and lie,” Shaw argued Tuesday, according to the Washington Examiner.

The three-part plan summed up by Shaw allegedly isn’t just limited to Sussmann, Reuters’ Justice Department reporter Sarah N. Lynch highlighted.

“This included a plot by Internet executive Rodney Joffe, who is not charged, to connect Trump’s campaign to Russia’s Alfabank using DNS data,” according to Lynch.

Sussmann’s attorneys, meanwhile, maintain that he “didn’t lie to the FBI.” Sussmann defense lawyer Michael Bosworth said Tuesday that his client simply “got information that raised serious national security concerns,” going on to use that as reason why the press was given information, the Examiner reported.

Then, according to Bosworth, his client went to the FBI to give them a warning about a potential story being published by the media regarding Trump and Alfa Bank.