Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, was acquitted of a felony charge of lying to the FBI on Tuesday.
Why it matters: It was the first trial in special counsel John Durham's three-year review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.
A grand jury indicted Sussmann in September 2021, alleging that he lied to the FBI about not representing a client when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.
- That allegation led to a four-month FBI inquiry into a possible internet backchannel between the Trump Organization and the Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank.
- Both companies denied a connection, and the FBI eventually closed the investigation.
- In the original indictment, the FBI was presented as the victim of a crime, not the Trump campaign. It was also unrelated to former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
What they're saying: "While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury's decision and thank them for their service," Durham said in a statement.
- "I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case," he added.
The big picture: So far, the only criminal conviction produced by Durham's investigation was against a low-level former FBI lawyer, who was sentenced to 12 months' probation after pleading guilty to altering an email used to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.