Greg Craig, Onetime Top Democratic Lawyer, Charged In Ukraine Case

12 April, 2019, 08:53 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
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He is the first prominent Democrat to be charged with a crime stemming out of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian collusion.

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.

Craig's attorneys met with Justice Department prosecutors in recent days in a bid to avoid charges against him, CNN has reported.

It was transferred out of SDNY because, after examining Craig's case, federal prosecutors in NY concluded they had insufficient evidence to bring charges against him, CNN has reported.

In short, the indictment alleges, Craig withheld information he knew he should have given to the Justice Department and deliberately gave it other information he knew was false.

Craig's former law firm has already paid more than $4.6 million and acknowledged that it failed to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine.

Craig came under scrutiny in part for contact he had in December 2012 with reporters, particularly at The New York Times, to explain the content of the report.

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Lawyers for Mr Craig denied the charges before they were filed.

The FARA law requires disclosure and registration of work done on behalf of foreign governments or principals by anyone who "acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee or political consultant for or in the interests of such foreign principal [.]" The law further defines a "public relations counsel" as "any person who engages directly or indirectly in informing, advising, or in any way representing a principal in any public relations matter pertaining to political or public interests, policies, or relations" on behalf of a foreign government or principal.

In January, Skadden reached a settlement with the Justice Department, admitting it should have registered, and agreed to turn over the fees it had earned in exchange for facing no criminal charges. "Proper registration under the statute allows the USA government and the American people to evaluate the statements and activities of individuals who are serving as agents of foreign principals". Prosecutors accuse Craig of lying about his work during this process, citing an email in which he allegedly told Skadden's general counsel that he did not disseminate the report, and that he did not "contact the media".

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. Craig's lawyers said they believe the NY prosecutors declined to prosecute the case.

The report was used by Yanukovych's government to justify Tymoshenko's pretrial detention to the European Court of Human Rights and influence USA lawmakers.

A second attorney at the firm pleaded guilty a year ago to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his role in the Ukraine report, saying he gave an early copy to Manafort and deleted related emails.

Craig, who was indicted by the FARA Unit for allegedly providing false statements to the Justice Department, faces up to five years in prison each for the two charges, prosecutors say.

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