(FiveNation.com)- Attorneys for former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann want to prevent Special Counsel John Durham from using a 2016 tweet from Hillary Clinton as evidence in Sussmann’s trial.
Sussmann was indicted in September for concealing from the FBI that he was working on behalf of his clients when he brought his claims of a secret backchannel between Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa-Bank.
In a recent court filing, Durham told the court that he wanted Clinton’s 2016 tweet promoting the Trump/Alfa-Bank claims to be admitted as evidence in Sussmann’s upcoming trial. In his filing, Durham argued that Clinton’s tweet was not inadmissible hearsay because it was not “offered for its truth.” The claims about Trump and Alfa-Bank were false. Instead, Durham wants to present the tweet as proof of Sussmann’s attorney/client relationship with the Clinton campaign, “which is directly relevant to the false statement charge.”
On October 31, 2016, Hillary tweeted that Trump had a “secret server” to “communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank.” In another tweet, Clinton went on to explain that “computer scientists” (paid by her) “have apparently uncovered a covert server” linking Trump to a Russian bank. Clinton attached a lengthy statement from Jake Sullivan, who at the time served as a Clinton campaign advisor. Sullivan is now Joe Biden’s national security advisor.
In short, Hillary was tweeting about the garbage opposition research her campaign paid for through its attorney Michael Sussmann a short time after Sussmann went to the FBI and said he wasn’t reporting the garbage claim on behalf of a client.
However, Sussmann’s attorneys don’t want Hillary’s tweet to be admitted, arguing that Hillary’s tweeted comments are “hearsay.” The defense argues that Durham wants to admit it so he can argue that the Clinton campaign’s “plan all along was to make a public statement about ‘federal authorities’ looking into the connection between Trump and Russia. They argue that Sussmann did not write or authorize Clinton’s tweet, nor did he know about it. Therefore, it is “irrelevant, prejudicial,” and would “confuse and distract the jury” from the false statement charge.
The defense maintains that Hillary’s 2016 tweet reveals nothing about Sussmann’s “state of mind” a month earlier when he lied to the FBI. They claim that there is no evidence that Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI “had anything to do with the Clinton Campaign’s broader media strategy.”
Durham, however, disputes the defense’s “broader media strategy” denial. He argues that in the months before, Sussmann had been communicating with the media and supplying them with the Alfa-Bank allegations while keeping the campaign’s general counsel Marc Elias “apprised of his efforts.” Elias then kept the campaign informed about “potential media coverage of these issues.”