Jury deliberations began on Friday in the case of attorney Michael Sussmann, and during the course of the trial, Special Counsel John Durham’s prosecution team presented evidence indicating that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was billed for the storage devices used to contain information designed to further the later-debunked Trump-Russia collusion claims with the FBI, as the Washington Examiner reports.
The case is the first to emerge from Durham’s probe of the collusion investigation that consumed the first half of former President Donald Trump’s term in office, and in it, Sussmann is accused of falsely claiming that he was not working on behalf of any specific client when he brought claims of a Trump connection to a Russian bank to federal law enforcement.
During the meeting in which Sussmann provided former FBI General Counsel James Baker with purported proof of such a link, the lawyer-turned-criminal-defendant turned over two thumb drives full of information detailing the allegations.
At the trial, evidence was introduced indicating that those two storage drives were ultimately billed to the Clinton campaign, with the devices themselves shown to the jury last week.
Furthermore, a Justice Department paralegal testified about an expense report in which the owner of expenses related to the drives was written as “SUSSM,” meaning Sussmann, and the financial allocation was labeled “confidential” and billed to Hillary for America.
Other evidence was presented to substantiate the prosecution’s argument that Sussmann was working for Clinton’s campaign despite his representations to the contrary, including detailed billing records related to the “server issue” and a “confidential project.”
Baker himself testified that he was “100% confident” that when Sussmann brought material alleging Trump’s link to Russia’s Alfa Bank, he declared that he was not representing any particular client and was simply there as a concerned citizen, though voluminous documentation brought forth last week seems to strongly suggest otherwise.
During Friday’s closing arguments, prosecutor Jonathan Algor told the jurors that “[t]he evidence has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Sussmann made a false statement to the FBI” and that “[Sussmann] knew he had to conceal his connection to the Clinton campaign. He knew that if he told Baker he was there on behalf of the Clinton campaign, the chances of an FBI investigation would be diminished.”
Andrew DeFilippis, another member of the prosecution team, declared, “There are sometimes close cases. This is not even close to a close case.” But, with a left-leaning jury pool such as that which exists in Washington, D.C., there is no such thing as a sure thing, and whether accountability for one of the worst dirty tricks in American political history finally begins with this defendant, only time will tell.