A jury acquitted former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann of lying to the FBI. The alleged lying happened as Sussman was pushing information meant to cast suspicions on former President Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election. Tuesday morning’s verdict came after the jury began deliberations last Friday.
“Despite being falsely accused, I am relieved that justice ultimately prevailed in this case,” Sussmann said after he was acquitted of lying to the FBI for allegedly hiding that he was working for the campaign when he gave information to the agency that he said pointed to secret connections between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization. He added that he “told the truth to the FBI, and the jury clearly recognized that with their unanimous verdict today.”
The verdict represents a setback for special counsel John Durham. He was appointed by the Trump administration three years ago to search for government misconduct during the investigation into potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” Durham said in a statement after the verdict, according to NBC News Justice Department reporter Ryan J. Reilly. “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”
Durham has brought three cases in connection to his investigation so far, though the one against Sussmann is the only to have reached trial. In addition to Sussmann being acquitted of lying, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was given probation after pleading guilty in 2020 to altering an email related to the surveillance of an ex-Trump campaign aide. A Russian analyst who contributed to a dossier of Democratic-funded research into ties between Russia and Trump awaits trial on charges of lying to the FBI about his sources of information.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.