Ex-Obama WH counsel accused of lying about lobbying work

Ex-Obama WH counsel accused of lying about lobbying work

Ex-Obama WH counsel accused of lying about lobbying work

The scrutiny of Craig stems from an investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his work on behalf of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. "Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge and the government's stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion", Craig's attorneys said.

Craig became the first Democrat indicted in a case arising from Mueller's completed probe, Fox News reported.

Prior to his work for Kiev and the Obama White House, Craig served as special counsel to Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and directed the team defending Clinton against impeachment.

After the firm's work attracted the attention of the Justice Department's FARA unit in 2012 and 2013, the indictment says Craig misled officials about his interactions with reporters and his involvement with a public relations firm in securing news media coverage about his law firm's report. The aim of the report, critics said, was to provide political cover for the prosecution.

The federal investigation began as an offshoot of the Mueller probe that was later handed off to Manhattan federal prosecutors. Craig also coordinated public relations work to boost the government's image.

According to the indictment, from the start of the work on the report, Craig didn't want to register as an agent for Ukraine "at least in part because he believed doing so could prevent him or others at [Skadden] from taking positions in the federal government in the future".

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Taylor had largely been silent about Craig's case until Wednesday; he reportedly said around the time he was hired that Craig hadn't had any requirement to register under FARA. He was sentenced to a combined prison term of just more than seven years last month following financial fraud convictions in Virginia and Washington, all related to his work in Ukraine.

Over the last few years, the Department of Justice has filed several charges involving the Foreign Agents Act.

The Washington-based lawyer was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for allegedly falsifying and concealing "material facts" and making false statements to the DOJ National Security Division's Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit, which is responsible for enforcing foreign lobbying laws.

They said Craig "did not lie to his former firm or the government" and said his contact with The Times was meant to ensure that the newspaper accurately summarized the way the report criticized Tymoshenko's trial.

In January, the Skadden firm paid the Department of Justice $4.6m as a part of a settlement after admitting to misleading federal officials about work in Ukraine. The report was also presented to USA government officials, raising questions if it constituted lobbying. People who lobby on behalf of foreign governments in the United States are required to register with the department.

Another Skadden lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his work on the report, agreeing that he had slipped an early copy to Manafort to assist in his pro-Yanukovych lobby efforts and later deleted emails related to the effort. Craig's lawyers said they believe the NY prosecutors declined to prosecute the case.

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