Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig acquitted in foreign influence case

Former White House Counsel Gregory Craig was acquitted of charges that he gave false information to federal authorities about his work with the Ukrainian government. File Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI

Sept. 5 (UPI) — Former White House counsel Gregory Craig on Wednesday was acquitted by a federal jury on charges that he gave false information to federal authorities about his work with the Ukrainian government.

Craig was acquitted after two weeks of testimony and less than 5 hours of closed-door deliberations over the charges that he falsified and concealed information about his work for the government of former Viktor Yanukovych.

“The jury reached the only verdict it could possibly reach,” Craig’s attorney, William Taylor, said. “It’s a tragedy. It’s a disgrace. We’re glad it’s over.”

The charges against Craig stemmed from legal work he and his then-law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, performed for the government of Ukraine in 2012 in which they were hired to write an independent report for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice to evaluate the fairness of the trial of an opposition politician.

Prosecutors said Craig refused to report the work to the Justice Department — a requirement under the Foreign Agents Registration Act — which would have required the firm to disclose it was paid more than $4 million for its services.

They also stated that Craig was involved in the media strategy surrounding the report and reached out to press outlets including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and National Law Journal and made false and misleading comments to the Justice Department about his media contacts.

An attorney for Craig, William Murphy, said Craig was not a part of the media strategy, but only intended to portray the findings of the report to the press.

The case against Craig was spurred by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A federal judge had previously dismissed a count of making false and misleading statements to the FARA department, citing ambiguity in the law.


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