A major political player was just found not guilty, and this shocking court verdict has rocked Washington, D.C.
Democratic attorney Greg Craig, who served as the White House counsel under former President Barack Obama, just got off easily in a major court case.
Craig was accused of lying to federal investigators about his business connections to Ukraine, but a D.C. court acquitted him this week of all charges.
The case originated during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, but he kicked the case over the D.C. courts rather than handle it himself.
Sure seems like Mueller did Craig a favor.
Maybe that is because Craig is a Democrat and was Obama’s top counsel in the White House for years.
After is acquittal, Craig told reporters: “I just have two things to say, one I just want to thank the jury for their service and doing justice in this case. I’m grateful for them in so many ways.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchewas clearly displeased with the ruling, saying that Craig “chose to conceal the facts, and that’s a crime.”
Greg Craig, a prominent Democratic attorney and former White House counsel, was found not guilty of lying to the Justice Department about work he had done on behalf of Ukraine in 2012. A federal jury in Washington acquitted Craig after less than four hours of deliberation on Wednesday.
Craig, who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton and was White House counsel in the first year of the Obama administration, was charged with making false statements to the Justice Department officials about the work he performed on behalf of the Ukrainian government.
The scrutiny of Craig began when federal investigators began looking into Manafort for his work on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government hired Craig and his law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in 2012 to write a report examining the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister and political opponent of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a longtime Manafort patron aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The report was billed as an independent investigation carried out by an American law firm to determine if Tymoshenko had a fair trial based on Western legal standards.
Prosecutors argued Craig misled officials from the Justice Department responsible for overseeing registrations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. They said Craig and the firm downplayed the extent of their work and understated the amount of money they were being paid.
In a settlement earlier this year, Skadden Arps acknowledged it had been paid $4.6 million, far more than the $12,000 the Ukrainian government initially said it had paid. The firm laid much of the blame on Craig.
One of the key questions at Craig’s trial was whether he falsified his contacts with reporters about the rollout of his law firm’s report. After the report was finished in 2012, Craig and Skadden suggested the Ukrainian government hire Jonathan Hawker of FTI, a public relations firm in London. To comply with FARA, Craig and Skadden could not do any media relations work.
It certainly seems like Mueller applied two standards in the investigation.
Manafort, a Republican who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, will spend several years in prison for hiding money offshore, lying to investigators, and failing to pay taxes.
Craig, a Democrat who is closely connected to Obama, was given a pass for essentially doing many of the same things as Manafort.