WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign repeatedly billed to the campaign “general political advice” and legal work related to a since-debunked secret back channel between Donald Trump and Russia, according to evidence shown to jurors Wednesday in the attorney’s trial.
Prosecutors presented the billing records as part of an effort to convince jurors that Michael Sussmann was acting on behalf of Clinton’s campaign when he approached the FBI with computer data that he said showed a link between the Trump Organization, the former president’s company, and Russia-based Alfa Bank. The FBI investigated but quickly determined no such link existed.
Sussmann is on trial in Washington’s federal court, accused of lying to the FBI’s general counsel during a September 2016 meeting when he presented the data.
Prosecutors allege he misled the FBI by saying that he was not attending the meeting on behalf of a particular client when he was actually representing the interests of the Clinton campaign and another client — a technology executive who had provided him with the data.
Sussmann’s lawyers deny he lied, saying he was coming to the FBI as essentially a good citizen to raise concerns about a potential national security threat.
Also Wednesday, defense lawyers noted that Sussmann billed the taxi ride to the FBI building for the meeting to his law firm at the time, Perkins Coie, rather than to the Clinton campaign.
The defense team is expected to begin its case later this week.
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