Judge deals Clinton camp blow on privilege claims for Russiagate documents

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News May 5, 2022

The judge in the criminal trial of ex-Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann expressed skepticism that memos detailing Fusion GPS’s opposition research on Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia – some of which were shared with the news media and the FBI – were covered by attorney-client privilege.

Michael Sussmann

During a hearing on May 4, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper also ordered a key witness to testify, Just the News reported.

Judge Cooper also agreed to special counsel John Durham’s request to review 38 documents that prosecutors want to introduce at trial later this month which Sussmann’s lawyers have attempted to withhold citing attorney-client privilege.

Cooper said he wasn’t convinced the Clinton campaign, Sussmann and his law firm and Fusion GPS should have blanket privilege over the documents, at one point citing a memo of Fusion’s contacts with a reporter as evidence of “assisting a media strategy” rather than legal advice.

The judge also unsealed his order to compel that granted Fusion GPS computer researcher Laura Seago limited immunity and ordered her to testify at trial as special counsel John Durham had sought.

Cooper signed an order mandating Seago “give testimony or provide other information which she refuses to give or to provide on the basis of her privilege against self-incrimination as to all matters about which she might be interrogated at trial and any proceedings ancillary thereto.”

The judge also ruled that “no testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against Laura Seago in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order.”

Durham had argued that Seago’s testimony was “necessary to the public interest.” It did not specify what prosecutors believed her testimony would focus on.

Judge Cooper previously rejected Sussmann’s motion to dismiss the charge, ruling last month that the question of whether Sussmann’s alleged lie to the FBi was “a question that generally must be answered by a jury.”

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