The judge presiding over the false statements case against Michael Sussmann shot down the defendant’s motion to dismiss special counsel John Durham’s indictment, denying the Democratic cybersecurity lawyer’s effort to avoid trial next month.
Sussmann was indicted last September for allegedly concealing his clients (Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” known to be former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe) from FBI General Counsel James Baker when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
He has argued he did not lie to the FBI when passing along Trump-Russia collusion claims, and even if he did, the lie was “immaterial.” Durham argues that he has proof that the lie was absolutely material under U.S. Code § 1001. Judge Christopher Cooper said Wednesday this was an issue generally decided by a jury and that it should be dealt with at trial.
The judge said, “Sussmann’s sole argument for dismissal is that, even taking the allegations in the indictment as true, his purported misrepresentation to Baker was immaterial.”
Sussmann’s lawyers said in February he “voluntarily” met with the FBI in September 2016 “to pass along information that raised national security concerns.” They argued there was no allegation by Durham that the tip was false and contended Sussmann was instead “charged with making a false statement about an entirely ancillary matter.”