Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Former Obama White House counsel charged with lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Former Obama White House counsel charged with lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

While Craig was not charged with failing to register under the law, the indictment accuses him of lying to, and withholding information from, the Justice Department officials who oversee FARA in order to avoid registration. In private practice, his clients have included former North Carolina Sen. Way back in April of past year when former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig was unceremoniously pulled from the Skadden's website and several hours later it was confirmed he'd "retired" from his role as of counsel at the Biglaw giant, you knew that was only the start of his woes.

The New York Times reported the project was directed to the firm by Manafort, who was a political consultant in the region at the time.

Craig, who worked in the Clinton administration and served as President Barack Obama's first White House counsel, appeared at an arraignment hearing before U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson of Washington, D.C.

The firm allegedly was involved in crafting a report that sought to validate Yanukovich's decision to have the government prosecute and subsequently imprison former prime minister and rival Yulia Tymoshenko.

Prosecutors allege that interactions Craig had with the media to explain and publicize the report in 2012 triggered a requirement to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which is meant to ensure transparency when foreign governments work to lobby US officials or shape public opinion.

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The indictment of Craig, 74, stemmed from an investigation initiated by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In a statement yesterday, Craig denied that he violated the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which had until recently been rarely used by prosecutors. U.S. Attorney General William Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller's findings next week. The law firm that he is associated with paid a fine of $4.6 million dollars, which was essentially what they got paid for the report. Craig's lawyers declined to comment. As of April, 446 separate entities registered with the Justice Department, up from 387 at the end of 2016. He has denied any wrongdoing, the USA media reported. Mueller had referred the case to the Southern District of NY, but that office has not brought these charges.

Patten's case has sparked interest in Washington amid a widening crackdown by the Justice Department on undisclosed lobbying.

Berman Jackson last month sentenced Manafort to 73 months in prison for two conspiracy charges arising from the Mueller probe - a sentence called unnecessary and hostile by a Manafort lawyer.

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