A federal jury found Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for Democrats including the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign,not guilty of lying to the FBI when he brought them allegations against Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race.
Tuesday’s verdict was a major setback for Special Counsel John Durham, who was appointed during the Trump administration and has spent three years probing whether the federal agents who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign committed wrongdoing.
Sussmann was the first person charged by Durham to go to trial. Another person charged in the investigation is due to face a jury later this year.
The Sussmann jury began deliberating Friday, weighing testimony of current and former FBI officials, former Clinton campaign advisers, and technology experts. In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury that Sussmann thought he had “a license to lie” to the FBI at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. Sussmann’s defense lawyers countered that the case against Sussmann was built on a “political conspiracy theory.”