The Washington Examiner reported that Special Counsel John Durham scored a legal victory in the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to the paper, federal Judge Anthony Trenga refused a motion from Igor Danchenko to dismiss the charges he is facing.
Danchenko faces five counts of having lied to the FBI
“The motion is denied,” Trenga was quoted as saying. Still, the George W. Bush appointee went on to add that he would revisit the matter after Durham’s team had finished presenting its case this month.
What’s more, the judge indicated that one of the counts which related to Danchenko’s interaction with Chuck Dolan, a longtime ally of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is “an extremely close call.”
The Examiner noted that Danchenko was charged late last year with five counts of making false statements to the FBI concerning his work on behalf of former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
Steele was hired by the 2016 Clinton campaign to compile the Steele dossier, a since discredited collection of allegations about former President Donald Trump. Danchenko, a Russian-born attorney, served as one of Steele’s sources.
Case concerns statements about the allegedly non-existent phone call
Danchenko stands accused of having lied to the FBI about receiving a telephone call from Sergei Millian, a Belarusian American, during which the pair supposedly discussed conspiratorial workings between Trump and the Russian government.
The prosecution contends that while no such phone call took place, Danchenko nevertheless discussed it with Dolan, something he then denied when speaking with the FBI.
Danchenko was at one point asked by an FBI agent, “But you had never talked to [Dolan] about anything that showed up in the dossier right?”
When the defendant replied, “No,” The agent replied by asking, “You don’t think so?” Danchenko then responded with, “No. We talked about, you know, related issues perhaps but no, no, no, nothing specific.”
The indictment also goes on to accuse Danchenko of claiming that Millian at one point agreed to a meeting in New York City in which they would discuss Trump’s ties to Russia, an agreement that the government says never existed.