Lawyer Michael Sussmann pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI on Friday after being indicted as part of special counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation.
The indictment states that Sussmann lied by claiming that he was not working on behalf of any client when he gave the FBI information in 2016 on potential communications between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian ban with ties to the Kremlin. The indictment further alleges that Sussmann was working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign at the time, as well as a tech industry client.
“The Special Counsel appears to be using this indictment to advance a conspiracy theory he has chosen not to actually charge,” Sussmann’s attorneys said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner. “This case represents the opposite of everything the Department of Justice is supposed to stand for. Mr. Sussmann will fight this baseless and politically-inspired prosecution.”
However, the attorneys acknowledged that Sussmann was working “on behalf of a cyber expert client,” according to Fox News.
Sussmann was released on a $100,000 bond. If convicted, Sussmann faces up to five years in prison.
Durham’s investigation has so far netted one other guilty plea. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith admitted in January to altering an email used to apply for a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page.