Judge Denies Clinton Lawyer's Motion to Dismiss Durham Probe Case

A federal judge has denied Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman's motion to dismiss a case resulting from Special Counsel John Durham's probe into the so-called "Steele Dossier." The Washington Examiner reported:

The judge presiding over the false statements case against Michael Sussmann shot down the defendant’s motion to dismiss special counsel John Durham’s indictment, denying the Democratic cybersecurity lawyer’s effort to avoid trial next month.

Sussmann was indicted last September for allegedly concealing his clients (Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” known to be former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe) from FBI General Counsel James Baker when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

Fox News explained the reasoning behind U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper's ruling:

"The court will deny the motion," Cooper wrote, noting that the standard for materiality under U.S. code is "whether the statement has ‘a natural tendency to influence, or is capable of influencing, either a discrete decision or any other function of the [government] agency to which it was addressed.’"

Cooper explains that Sussmann argued that his alleged statement to Baker – that he was not at the meeting on behalf of a client – "could not have possibly influenced what was, in his view, the only ‘discrete decision’ before the Bureau at the time: whether to initiate an investigation into the Trump campaign’s asserted communications with the Russian bank."

Cooper said that Sussmann "largely ignores the second part of the test: whether the statement could influence 'any other function' of the agency."

"Sussmann seeks to cabin this holding to statements made during the course of an ongoing investigation, but the Court sees no basis for that bright-line divide," Cooper wrote. "As the Special Counsel argues, it is at least possible that statements made to law enforcement prior to an investigation could materially influence the later trajectory of the investigation. Sussmann offers no legal authority to the contrary."

Recent filings by Special Counsel Durham indicate that the evidence continues to mount against Sussman.

Sussman's trial is expected to begin on Monday, May 16.