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The highly-anticipated verdict against former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann came back as not guilty.
Sussmann was accused of making a false statement to the FBI in September 2016 that misled authorities by falsely alleging the Trump Organization was colluding with Russia’s Alfa Bank.
This resulted in the FBI receiving a warrant and spying on the Trump campaign in 2016. Despite these efforts, Trump still went on to win the election and defeat the Clinton campaign.
Sussmann argued that his lie to the FBI on Sept. 19, 2016 was not reported on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The jury deliberated for over one day after a two-week trial.
Special Counsel John Durham argued that Sussmann misled the FBI on behalf of his client, the Clinton campaign. Sussmann was charged with one count of making a false statement to the FBI when he met with former FBI General Counsel James Baker.
There are serious questions and widespread speculation about whether the jury acted impartially at trial.
One juror was a federal government employee who donated to Democrats in 2016. Another juror openly admitted to the judge that they “strongly” dislike President Donald Trump. Another juror had a child who was on the sam high school sports team as Sussmann’s child.
Despite these conflicts of interest, the judge did not remove them from the jury.
More on this story via Fox News:
Durham’s team presented billing records dated beginning on July 29, 2016 and through October 2016, revealing Sussmann repeatedly billed the Clinton campaign for work on the Alfa Bank opposition research against Trump.
The government, during closing arguments, reminded jurors of a key text message Sussmann sent to Baker on the night before his FBI meeting on Sept. 19, 2016. Durham’s team alleges Sussmann put his “lie in writing” in his Sept. 18, 2016, text to Baker.
The text message stated: “Jim — it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss,” the text message stated, according to Durham. “Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”
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Baker replied, “OK. I will find a time. What might work for you?”
Durham’s team on Friday during closing arguments, said that text message had “43 words” and said “20” of those words were “a lie.”
“The defendant’s own words, own actions, are overwhelming,” government prosecutor Jonathan Algor said Friday. “The evidence has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Sussmann made a false statement to the FBI.”
“You should return the only verdict supported by the evidence in this case – guilty,” Algor closed.
Sussmann did not testify in his defense.