Not long before Christmas 2012, Paul Manafort, then a foreign lobbyist, congratulated Gregory B. Craig, a well-known Washington lawyer, on the release of a report that Mr. Manafort had commissioned to help Ukraine’s pro-Russian president polish his image in the West.
“Well done,” Mr. Manafort wrote in an email to Mr. Craig after the lawyer had briefed American journalists on the report, which largely justified the criminal prosecution of the Ukrainian leader’s political rival.
Government officials in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, “are especially happy with the way the media is playing it,” Mr. Manafort wrote, later adding, “You are ‘THE MAN.’”
“I am glad it went so well,” Mr. Craig replied.
Seven years later, that email exchange will be evidence in a criminal trial that has shaken Washington’s lobbying, consulting and public relations industry to its core. Mr. Craig, 74, is charged with deceiving Justice Department officials who sought to determine whether he should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, commonly known as FARA, for work that earned his law firm more than $4.6 million.