Former White House counsel under President Obama, Gregory Craig, expects to be indicted by federal prosecutors for work he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012. The case comes as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to The Hill.
Craig worked with Paul Manafort to do lobbying work on behalf of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice while he was a partner with Sadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Manafort was the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and was recently sentenced to 43 months in prison by a D.C. Circuit Court judge for his role in fraud and witness tampering.
Craig’s involvement in the situation was uncovered by Mueller’s investigation and the case was then transferred to the Southern District of New York. From there, it was referred back to Washington, D.C.
The Justice Department’s national security division plans to indict the lawyer for making false statements and for failing to register as a foreign agent, but his legal representation denies any wrongdoing.
“This case was thoroughly investigated by the [Southern District of New York] and that office decided not to pursue charges against Mr. Craig. We expect an indictment by the DC US Attorney’s Office at the request of the National Security Division,” his legal counsel said, according to The New York Times. “Mr. Craig is not guilty of any charge and the government’s stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
Prominent Democratic Attorney Gregory Craig failed to register as a foreign agent and then appeared to lie about it. https://t.co/Kpf0UOc2Ok— Slate (@Slate) April 11, 2019
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was hired in 2012 to evaluate the former Ukrainian prime minister’s corruption trial. In January, the firm admitted to misleading the U.S. government about whether or not it worked on behalf of the Ukraine and blamed Craig for the misunderstanding. As a result, it paid a $4.6 million dollar fine as part of a settlement.
Prosecutors believe that Craig made false statements to the Justice Department about when he was in contact with certain people and they also believe that he hid details relevant to the case.
Craig served under Obama and worked at the State Department under former President Bill Clinton. In 2010, he joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Craig opted not to accept a plea deal from the Justice Department and likely intends to argue that he was working in a personal capacity.
If he is indicted, he will be the first person since the report was released last month to face charges. He would also be the first Democrat to be indicted as a result of the Russian investigation.