WASHINGTON (AP) – A jury was elected on Monday in the trial of presidential campaign lawyer Hillary Clinton, who is accused of lying to the FBI. explored possible connections between Donald Trump and Russia in 2016.
Case against Michael ZusmanThe cybersecurity attorney who represented Clinton in 2016 is the first trial to be conducted by a special lawyer John Durham and test the strength of the evidence he and his team came together to study the first days of Trump’s and Russia’s investigation into possible violations.
Zusman appeared in court with his lawyers on Monday as both sides worked to select a jury to hear the case, which is expected to last about two weeks. Future jurors, who had already completed the questionnaires, took turns submitting to the courtroom to answer the following questions on topics, including the political contribution during the 2016 election, and their views on lawyers and the criminal justice system.
The jury was determined shortly after 5 pm on Monday. Entries are scheduled for Tuesday.
The case alleges Zusman’s only false statement, but the stakes are still high: the acquittal is likely to speed up questions about the purpose and cost of the Durham investigation for taxpayers, while the conviction almost certainly activates long-watched Trump supporters. on Durham to expose what they see as prejudiced against the former president.
Zusman is accused of misleading the then FBI’s chief legal counsel during a meeting in September 2016, at which he presented a study that revealed what he said might be a suspicious feedback channel between Trump Organization’s computer servers and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Prosecutors allege Zusman lied by saying he did not attend the meeting on behalf of any particular client when they say he actually acted on behalf of two clients: Clinton and a technology manager who helped gather computer data.
The Durham team says that if the FBI had told the truth, it would have taken into account the assessment of the Bureau of Confidence in Alfa Bank’s claims if it had considered whether to launch an investigation. The FBI investigated the matter, but found nothing suspicious.
Zusman’s lawyers deny that he lied, but say the alleged distortion is irrelevant anyway, as there is no evidence that what the FBI knew or did not know about his political affiliations was relevant to his decisions about the need for an investigation.
Durham was appointed in 2019 then-Attorney General William Barr to look for any misconduct as the U.S. government reviewed potential coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign in 2016 to determine the election results. The investigation of the former special prosecutor, Robert Muellerdid not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign, although he found that Russia sought to help in the election of Trump.
The Alfa Bank case was a peripheral part of the FBI investigation, and allegations of secret contacts were not even mentioned in Mueller’s 2019 report.
As a result of Durham’s work, three criminal cases were initiated, but only the one against Zusman came to court.
In 2020 former FBI lawyer Kevin Kleinsmith pleaded guilty to altering emails related to FBI secret surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page. When applying for Paige’s wiretapping warrants, the FBI relied on research files with information against Trump, commonly known as the “Style Dossier,” which contained rumors and unconfirmed allegations.
Last year, Durham – the analyst on Russia accused who was the source of this dossier on the FBI’s lies about its own sources of information – among them a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton. Igor Danchenko pleaded not guilty. The case is under consideration.
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