The indictment alleges that the cybersecurity attorney, who until this week was a partner at Perkins Coie – and previously worked for the Departamento de Justicia – falsely stated that he was not working “for any client” when he presented evidence to FBI officials of a purported secret communications channel between then-candidate Donald Trump y Rusia.
That supposed channel was alleged to have been between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank.
En realidad, the indictment alleges, Sussmann had been working on behalf of clients, including the Clinton campaign. Perkins Coie, in working with the campaign and the Democratic National Committee, had retained research firm Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump, which included Christopher Steele’s dossier on Trump and Russia.
Sussmann, who earned his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, joined the Democratic National Committee’s cybersecurity advisory board upon its inception in August 2016, months before that year’s presidential election. According to the indictment, it was the following month that he requested and had a meeting with the FBI about the possible link between Trump and Russia.
The Justice Department noted in announcing the Sussmann indictment that the FBI determined there was insufficient evidence to support allegations of a secret channel between the Trump Organization and the Russian bank.
Sussmann’s attorneys said in a statement that he was indicted “because of politics, not facts” and that Sussmann requested the FBI meeting due to national security concerns.
This is not the first time Sussmann has been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the Russia investigation and his work at Perkins Coie. Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page twice tried to sue Sussmann and now-former Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias, claiming they were instrumental in disseminating information contained in the Steele dossier.
Page claimed that the dossier included false information tying him to Russia, but judges dismissed both cases – one filed in Oklahoma, the other in Illinois – claiming the respective courts did not have jurisdiction over the defendants.