Attorney Michael Sussmann on Thursday asked a federal court to dismiss the federal indictment against him for allegedly making a false statement to the FBI in 2016 about his connection to the Clinton presidential campaign when talking to the agency about possible collusion between those associated with the rival Trump campaign and Russia – suggesting his statement was immaterial and saying the charge is a “case of extraordinary prosecutorial overreach.”
“This is a case of extraordinary prosecutorial overreach. It has long been a crime to make a false statement to the government. But the law criminalizes only false statements that are material – false statements that matter because they can actually affect a specific decision of the government,” Sussmann’s lawyers said in a 33-page filing in a Washington, D.C. federal court.
“By contrast, false statements about ancillary matters – false statements about what Blackstone called “trifling collateral circumstances” –are immaterial and cannot give rise to criminal liability.”
Durham was appointed by Trump administration Attorney General William Barr in 2020 to investigate false allegations about Russia collusion.
Last week, Durham made a filing that alleges Sussmann and other campaign lawyers paid a technology company to “mine” servers belonging to Trump Tower and the Trump White House to create an “inference” of Russia collusion in 2016-17, hoping to prod federal agencies to investigate.
On Monday, Sussmann and his legal team filed a response claiming the filing includes “false allegations” and tries to “taint the jury pool” for his upcoming trial.