Ex-Obama White House counsel charged with lying about lobbying work

Ex-Obama White House counsel charged with lying about lobbying work

Federal prosecutors in Washington indicted former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig on April 11, accusing him of making false statements in connection to his foreign lobbying work in Ukraine.

Craig's case stems from Mueller's 22-month investigation into whether Trump's presidential campaign worked with Russian Federation to influence 2016 election.

Thus, Craig is the first Democrat to to be charged as a result of the Mueller probe.

Manafort was the first former Trump aide to be arrested in the special counsel's investigation, though his charges related only to his consulting in Ukraine.

The case, which is being handled by the US Attorney's office for the District of Columbia in association with the Justice Department's national security division, is likely to bring renewed attention to the Justice Department's application of a once-obscure law applying to unregistered foreign agents, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

The civil settlement with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP laid much of the blame for the firm's conduct on Craig, who was a senior partner.


The Ukrainian government executed a contract with Skadden, which stated that the law firm would be paid approximately $12,000 for its work.

Craig's lawyers announced Wednesday that they believed the charges were coming, and they argued that the case was a misuse of prosecutorial discretion.

Craig, 74, faces a five-year sentence for each of the two charges.

After the report's rollout, Manafort allegedly sent Craig a compilation of media coverage around the report. Craig refused to sign on to the effort, which involved background conversations with reporters, because it would contradict his and Skadden's position that it wasn't acting as a lobbyist for Ukraine, prosecutors said. He's accused of wilfully hiding material facts from the Justice Department.

In a letter sent to the Justice Department in October 2013, and obtained by The Washington Post, Craig wrote that his media contacts came in response "to inaccuracies in USA news reports" and that he was "in no way serving as an agent for Ukraine".

Craig's indictment stands as a violation of the DOJ's Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit, the agency in charge of enforcing foreign lobbying laws.


Craig's lawyers challenged claims that he had lied to the government and said that he had not participated in a public relations effort.

The charges were brought by prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. and the Justice Department's National Security Division.

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

Van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in prison and fined $20,000 after he pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his work for Skadden with Paul Manafort and his protege, Rick Gates. Federal prosecutors in NY have been investigating two prominent Washington lobbying firms in a similar probe, and Justice Department officials in Washington have been increasingly willing to prosecute people who they believe intentionally hide their lobbying work from the government.

Attorneys for Greg Craig told The Wall Street Journal they expected the powerful lawyer and former Obama administration counsel to be indicted as early as Thursday. "That is what this trial will be all about", they said in a statement.


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