Michael Sussman declines to testify in his criminal trial

The Washington Examiner reported this week that former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussman is refusing to testify in his criminal trial. 

Sussman announced on Thursday morning during an exchange in court with Judge Christopher Cooper.

“I understand from counsel that the defense will not be calling Mr. Sussmann, is that correct?” the Examiner quoted Cooper as asking.

When defense attorney Sean Berkowitz responded that this was indeed the case, Cooper then asked Sussman if he had decided in consultation with his lawyer. “I have, Your Honor,” the defendant answered.

Cooper then made clear to the jury that Sussman was within his rights not to take the stand, saying, “You may not draw any inference of guilt from his decision not to testify.”

Sussman stands accused of making a false statement to the FBI, a charge brought by Special Counsel John Durham in connection with an event that took place during the 2016 presidential campaign.


Sussman allegedly told then FBI General Counsel James Baker that he was not working on behalf of any client when he came forward with supposed evidence of a link between Donald Trump and a Kremlin-backed bank.

The Examiner noted that Baker testified last week about the encounter, saying that he was “100% confident” Sussman said he was not acting for a client.

“Michael started to explain why he was there,” Baker recalled. “He said he was not appearing before me on behalf of any particular client.”

“In essence, in the meeting, he said, ‘I’m not here on behalf of any particular client.’ … I’m 100% confident that he said that in the meeting.”

Government prosecutors presented evidence that Sussman had billed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for thumb drives containing information on Russia’s Alfa-Bank.

Additional developments

In another major development, Fox News reported last week that Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said during his testimony that the candidate greenlit efforts to spread the now-debunked Trump-Russia claims to media outlets.

“I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter,” Mook was quoted as saying.

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