WASHINGTON—The former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer who is on trial for allegedly lying to the FBI will not take the stand to testify, he said in federal court on May 26.
Michael Sussmann, the lawyer, said that he agreed not to testify after speaking with his lawyers when asked by U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, who is overseeing the case. Cooper told Sussmann he has the right to testify, but can choose to forgo that right.
Sussmann was considering testifying in his own defense against the charge of making a false statement to the government, which carries a potential jail term of up to five years.
The charge came after Sussmann brought derogatory information about Donald Trump, while representing Clinton’s campaign, to the FBI ahead of the 2016 election while claiming he was acting on his own accord.
Sussmann later told Congress he went to the FBI on behalf of a client, with information from a client.
The FBI examined the data, which allegedly showed a link between Trump and Russia, and found it did not substantiate that alleged link. Months afterward, Sussmann shared the information with the CIA, which concluded the alleged link was not “technically plausible” and did not “withstand technical scrutiny,” according to special counsel John Durham’s team, which is prosecuting the Perkins Coie lawyer.
Clinton campaign officials have said that Clinton approved a plan to spread the same allegations to media outlets, but that they did not approve Sussmann going to the FBI because they feared it would delay the publication of stories about the allegations.
Sussmann’s decision not to take the stand followed his attorneys attempting to convince the judge not to allow him, if he did testify, to be questioned on negotiations he had with the government prior to being charged.
Filings on the matter were entered, but were sealed. That means they weren’t available for perusal by parties outside of the defense, the prosecution, and the judge.
Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday. The defense began calling witnesses, including FBI special agent Thomas Grasso.
Two character witnesses—Jimma Elliott-Stevens, a lawyer for Thomson Reuters who was an assistant for Sussmann when he worked at the Department of Justice, and Martha Stansell-Gamm, a retiree who hired Sussmann at the department—told the court about their relationships with him, though they acknowledged not knowing anything about the case in question.
The defense closed its case on Thursday, and prosecutors offered no rebuttal. Closing arguments are slated for Friday. That will give the parties time overnight to “hone arguments” to no more than 90 minutes each, Cooper said.
After the closing arguments, the jury will deliberate before returning a verdict.
From The Epoch Times