A presiding judge over US special counsel John Durham’s investigation regarding cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann determined this week that some Hillary Clinton-Fusion GPS papers previously kept secret on attorney-client confidentiality arguments can now be exposed in court.
Durham claimed that the records are critical in constructing his lawsuit against Sussmann, an ex Perkins Coie partner accused of lying to the FBI about supposed evidence linking then-presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign to the Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank.
Sussmann stated he was operating as a confidential citizen and not in favor of any client when he gave the material to FBI lawyer James Baker. Sussmann had invoiced the period to Clinton’s campaign, according to billing documents, as revealed.
Durham is attempting to establish that Sussmann was operating inx favor of the Democratic Party as well as the Hillary campaign when he falsely accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia.
Durham stated in court that the CIA found that Sussmann’s alleged proof regarding Trump was not “feasible,” did not “endure technical inspection,” and seemed to be “user-created rather than machine/tool generated.”
The Washington Examiner announced on Wednesday that Judge Christopher Cooper decided to accept Durham’s request, reasoning that seeing the documents in question “in camera,” or away from the public and the media, did not violate attorney-client privilege.
Techno Fog, a legal blogger, sought to corroborate the decision by sharing ostensibly court records.
According to reports, the records contain redacted contacts between both the Democratic National Committee, Clinton for America, Fusion GPS, and the Perkins Coie legal firm, where Sussman worked.
The distinction between engaging a company lawyer to undertake “fact-checking” vs employing it to conduct “opposition research” was crucial to Cooper’s decision, according to the Examiner.
Since they engaged Fusion GPS to offer “legal services,” Clinton for America, the DNC, & Perkins Coie have maintained that the data should be kept private under attorney-client privilege. Durham, on the other hand, has said that Fusion GPS’ work went much beyond legal services and included outright opposition research against Trump’s campaign.
Only 38 of the 1,500 papers over whom the defendants have claimed privilege will be reviewed by the court, but the prosecution stated that others may be demanded for use in future trials.
The defendants’ law teams were plainly upset by the decision.
The government, according to Clinton campaign counsel Robert Trout, has an “erroneously restricted conception of privileges,” calling it a “false choice” to suggest anything is either opposition study or shielded by privilege.
Sean Berkowitz, Sussmann’s lawyer, bemoaned the fact that “the government loaded a lawsuit with attorneys and privileges all over the place,” and argued that the judge’s decision might have a “ripple effect,” bringing “thousands of papers into doubt.”