A lawyer who worked for the Democratic National Committee who was charged with allegedly lying to the FBI when trying to present information that would damage then-candidate Donald Trump pleaded not guilty.

Special prosecutor John Durham, who has spent the past two years investigating the origins of the FBI’s probe into whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia, charged Michael Sussmann, who had worked with high-powered Washington-based law firm Perkins Coie on Democrat-backed election matters. Sussmann appeared in a Washington courtroom on Friday morning and entered his plea.

Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui released Sussmann on his own recognizance, setting his next court date on Sept. 22 before Washington District Court Judge Christopher Cooper. If convicted, he faces as many as five years in prison.

A Durham-empaneled grand jury indicted Sussmann over his September 2016 meeting with former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who now works for Twitter. Sussmann passed along a claim alleging that there was a secret communications channel between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization. Durham alleged that Sussmann told Baker that he was not representing a specific client but was actually secretly representing Democrats, Clinton’s campaign, and an unnamed technology company executive.

Court papers filed on Thursday against Sussmann argued that the lawyer’s allegedly false statement was material because he was in fact, allegedly working on behalf of specific clients.

“Sussmann stated falsely that he was not doing his work on the aforementioned allegations ‘for any client,’ which led the FBI General Counsel to understand that Sussmann was acting as a good citizen merely passing along information, not as a paid advocate or political operative,” the indictment read, adding that the alleged l… (Read more)