Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig indicted

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig indicted

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig indicted

Craig becomes the first Democrat to be indicted in a case arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's now-completed probe into Russian election interference.

Craig served as White House counsel during the first year of the Obama presidency.

Mr. Craig's attorneys called the possible indictment "a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion". "Proper registration under the statute allows the USA government and the American people to evaluate the statements and activities of individuals who are serving as agents of foreign principals".

Registering would also require Craig to disclose that a third party-a wealthy private Ukrainian-had paid Skadden more than $4 million for the work, and that the law firm had a parallel agreement with the Ukrainian government to assist in prosecuting the convicted prime minister on additional charges, according to the indictment.

In 2014, "having been misled by Craig", the indictment says, the unit reversed its decision, determining that neither Skadden nor Craig needed to register as foreign agents.

Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Trump, reacted on social media: "FINALLY!"

Former White House counsel indicted in Mueller...

He faces charges of making false statement and concealing material information in connection with his Ukraine work.

He is accused of lying to the Justice Department about his work on a 2012 report aimed at justifying the prosecution of a political enemy of Viktor Yanukovych, the Russian-aligned president of Ukraine at the time.Craig's lawyers declined immediate comment.

In 2013, the Justice Department inquired whether the firm's work for Mr. Yankovich required it to register as a foreign agent of the Ukrainian government.

The indictment alleges that, in addition to concealing his foreign agent work from the government, Craig also lied to his law firm about it and falsely claimed that he had no contact with the media about the report he had prepared.

His 2012 project in Ukraine was allegedly a part of Manafort's illegal lobbying efforts.

In January, Skadden reached a settlement with the Justice Department, admitting that it should have registered for its work.

On Wednesday, attorneys for Craig issued a statement in anticipation of charges, arguing that Craig acted only "as an independent expert on the rule of law, not as an advocate" for the Ukrainians.

Craig deliberately hid the true nature and compensation of his work for Ukraine in order to maximize the public relations value of the report he wrote for the Eastern European government, according to the indictment.

Mueller's team began the investigation into Craig but subsequently sent the matter to the Southern District of NY and then the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for further consideration.

Manafort was sentenced last month to 7 1/2 years in prison for foreign lobbying violations and financial crimes. The report was also presented to USA government officials, raising questions if it constituted lobbying. He was sentenced to 30-days in prison.

Mueller's office referred Craig's case a year ago to prosecutors in Manhattan as Mueller worked to bring his investigation to a close.

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