Federal prosecutors in New York are eyeing charges against former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig, CNN reports.
In a probe linked to former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, prosecutors are looking into bringing charges against Craig for failing to register as a foreign agent.
Individuals briefed on the matter told CNN that prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are also looking into taking legal action against Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, a powerful law firm where Craig was a partner while possibly lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
Greg Craig, who was White House counsel during the first year of President Barack Obama’s administration “was not required to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act,” his lawyer argues.
Prosecutors at the U.S. attorney’s office have briefed the Justice Department, but a final decision has not been made yet, as prosecutors are still unsure whether they have adequate evidence needed to bring charges. According to CNN, any action against Greg’s law firm would be extraordinary, given Mr. Craig and his law firm’s reputation as one of the most prestigious law firms in the United States.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, the probe into Greg Craig and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP pertains to lobbying work Craig performed on behalf of a Ukrainian political group, without registering as a foreign agent, and therefore possibly breaking the law.
Latest: Prominent U.S. law firm had a deeper role in helping a Ukrainian leader suppress his main political opponent, Manafort court filings revealed https://t.co/Xp054YoTU7
— Bloomberg (@business) September 14, 2018
The Craig investigation is, CNN notes, closely linked to Mueller’s Manafort inquiry because Manafort “solicited a law firm” on behalf of then-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, and the Ukrainian government’s Ministry of Justice. Greg Craig’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is the firm in question, and it was hired to write a report on Yanukovych’s biggest political rival at the time, Yulia Tymoshenko.
“Manafort arranged to have the law firm disseminate hard copies of the report to numerous government officials, including senior United States executive and legislative branch officials,” the court filing says.
“Manafort knew that the report also did not disclose that the law firm, in addition to being retained to write the report, was retained to represent Ukraine itself, including in connection with the Tymoshenko case and to provide training to the trial team prosecuting Tymoshenko.”
More than $4.6 million was paid to Greg Craig’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for its work, according to prosecutors.
In addition to the referral involving Craig, Mueller’s team referred inquiries to New York prosecutors involving possible violations of Foreign Agent Registration Act by Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, brother of John Podesta, a political consultant who served as White House Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.
Craig left Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in April, 2018, according to NBC News.
According to Bloomberg, Manafort used one of his offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to Craig’s law firm.