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Special Counsel John Durham has fired back at the claims of Michael Sussmann who said that former FBI General Counsel James Baker undermined the special counsel’s false statements indictment.
Durham said that evidence from five government employees, including Baker himself, supports the charge.
The indictment is based on a meeting that took place between Sussman and Baker on Sept. 19, 2016, at which Sussman debunked claims that there was a secret back channel between the Russian Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization, The Washington Examiner reported.
Durham contends that while Sussmann told Baker he was not working for any particular client, Sussmann was secretly doing the bidding of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and billing his services to her, as well as working on behalf of technology executive Rodney Joffe.
Sussmann denies misleading the FBI and pleaded not guilty.
As part of its effort to push for an early May 2022 trial date instead of the late July 2022 trial date preferred by prosecutors, Sussmann’s team claimed on Monday that last week, Durham’s team handed over documents about Baker’s statements about the 2016 meeting that it said: “directly contradict the Special Counsel’s allegation that Mr. Sussmann affirmatively told Mr. Baker that he was not meeting with him on behalf of any clients.” The team pointed to excerpts of interviews Baker gave to DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz’s investigators in 2019 and to Durham’s team in 2020.
But in a court filing on Tuesday Durham’s team pushed back against the claims.
“As the defendant is aware from discovery, both of those interviews occurred years after the events in question, and Mr. Baker made these statements before he had the opportunity to refresh his recollection with contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous notes that have been provided to the defense in discovery,” they said. “Indeed, the defendant’s motion entirely ignores law enforcement reports of Mr. Baker’s subsequent three interviews with the Special Counsel’s Office in which he affirmed and then re-affirmed his now-clear recollection of the defendant’s false statement.”
And in October Durham’s team made it known that it intends to call Baker to testify to prove its case.
“Prosecutors working with special counsel John Durham’s team indicated on Tuesday they may call former FBI General Counsel James Baker to testify in the case of former Democrat attorney Michael Sussmann, who was indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI,” The Epoch Times is reporting.
“During a status hearing Tuesday, Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis and his team said they plan to call Baker, who now works for Twitter, to testify as part of the case against Sussmann,” the outlet continued, citing reporting from Fox News and the Washington Examiner.
Sussman pleaded not guilty last month to charges that he lied to a federal agent.
Earlier, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ordered government prosecutors and Sussman’s defense attorneys to continue in their discovery process, which is likely to last for several more months.
Thus far, prosecutors have provided some 6,000 documents to Sussman’s defense team, bringing the total to around 80,000, The Epoch Times reported, adding:
Durham’s indictment against Sussmann, who previously worked for high-powered law firm Perkins Coie, is that he made false statements in September 2016 when he told Baker he wasn’t working for a client when he provided claims that alleged the existence of backchannel communications between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. Perkins Coie has long represented the Democrat Party in election-related lawsuits.
The indictment alleges that Sussmann was actually working for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and was charging her team for it as well as a technology executive. Several reports have identified the executive as Rodney Joffee.
Documents were forwarded “in response to grand jury subpoenas issued to fifteen separate individuals, entities, and organizations—including among others, political organizations, a university, university researchers, an investigative firm, and numerous companies,” according to Durham’s office.