The federal judge sitting for Special Counsel John Durham’s case against former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial Thursday.
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 trial officially began in court this week, and Sussmann’s attorney Sean Berkowitz quickly pushed for a mistrial after former Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias’s testimony Wednesday.
The push for a mistrial surrounded a comment Elias made during cross-examination, according to Fox News. Elias at one point suggested they “ask Mr. Sussmann” when pressed on whether Sussmann went to the FBI with his claims at the behest of the Clinton campaign.
The prosecution subsequently mentioned this answer, prompting the defense to issue the motion for a mistrial, according to Fox News. (RELATED: ‘As Wrong As It Gets’: Rep. Jim Jordan Calls Out Liberal Media And Democrats For Denying That Trump Was Spied On)
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, upon denying the motion, noted that the court will follow “routine” procedure. Cooper noted that this procedure includes striking “non-responsive portions of the transcript,” Fox News reported.
Sussmann’s defense also suggested there’s still a chance the defendant may take the stand, with Berkowitz admitting he’s made no official decision as of yet.
Sussmann’s defense previously pushed for the case to be dismissed, but Cooper ruled in April that the case could go forward and that the defense failed to offer “legal authority” proving Sussmann did not give a materially false statement.
“While Sussmann is correct that certain statements might be so peripheral or unimportant to a relevant agency decision or function to be immaterial under § 1001 as matter of law, the Court is unable to make that determination as to this alleged statement before hearing the government’s evidence. Any such decision must therefore wait until trial,” Cooper ruled at the time.
Durham’s team began opening arguments Tuesday by summing up its case against Sussmann as “a look, a leak and a lie.” Durham-team prosecutor Deborah Brittain Shaw argued earlier this week 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 the “look,” “leak,” and “lie.”