Former Obama Aide Charged With Lying About Lobbying Work

GettyImages-115137017

GettyImages-115137017

The prosecutors allege Craig knowingly perpetrated the scheme in order to avoid registering as a foreign agent, which would undermine the perception of independence of both the report and Craig and "impair the ability of Craig and others at the law firm to later return to government positions".

Mr. Craig does not face charges of violating the Foreign Registration Act because the law's five-year statute of limitations has expired.

Craig's firm was hired in 2012 by Yanukovych's Justice Ministry to conduct a review of the prosecution of one of Yanukovych's leading political rivals, Yulia Tymoshenko.

"I don't want to register as a foreign agent under FARA. I think we don't have to with this assignment, yes?" he wrote in a February 2012 email.

An indictment in the case against Craig, which originated in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, has been expected for several weeks, with Craig's own lawyers saying Wednesday they anticipated such an outcome.

The case is U.S. v. Craig, 19-cr-125, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Former White House counsel Greg Craig was indicted Thursday in connection with a report he prepared for Ukraine while working at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

If convicted, Craig could face up to ten years in prison. Manafort helped create the relationship between Craig and the foreign government, according to the Justice Department.

The report was billed as independent, and while critical in some ways of Tymoshenko's trial, critics have said it whitewashed a politically motivated prosecution.

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In 2012 and 2013, the firm's work attracted the attention of the Justice Department, which sought to determine whether the firm should register under FARA. Craig left Skadden in April 2018.

While Mueller charged multiple Trump affiliates - such as Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Michael Flynn - with false statements charges, he chose not to charge a prominent Democrat attorney who worked in the Obama White House with any wrongdoing.

Skadden produced the 187-page report at the behest of Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign who is now serving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence for lobbying violations and financial crimes. Before Mueller wrapped up his investigation, a prosecutor from his team, Brandon Van Grack, shifted to a unit that's pursuing FARA matters, people familiar with the situation said at the time.

"Mr Craig is not guilty of any charge", they said.

Ukrainian officials claimed they only paid $12,000 for the report, but prosecutors said the $4 million ultimately made its way to Skadden through Manafort's illegal offshore accounts.

In making the announcement, the official, John Demers, pointed to the Skadden settlement - and alluded to the Craig case - as having triggered the department's decision to escalate its enforcement in that area.

It was transferred to D.C. federal prosecutors in March, who leveled Thursday's charge on Craig.

Prosecutors said they believe he also tried to hide a public relations firm's involvement in the ordeal. Alex van der Zwaan, who worked out of the firm's London office, past year admitted lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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