The Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer at the center of special counsel John Durham's latest court filing demanded late Monday that certain portions of that filing be scrubbed from the court record.
In a court motion, lawyers for Michael Sussmann claimed that Durham's filing is meant to "politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool."
"Unfortunately, the Special Counsel has done more than simply file a document identifying potential conflicts of interest," Sussmann's attorneys argued. "Rather, the Special Counsel has again made a filing in this case that unnecessarily includes prejudicial—and false—allegations that are irrelevant to his Motion and to the charged offense, and are plainly intended to politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool."
The attorneys further argued that Durham's filing used "inflammatory and prejudicial rhetoric."
Sussmann's legal team, therefore, demanded the court "strike the Factual Background portion of the Special Counsel’s motion pursuant to the Court’s inherent power to ‘fashion an appropriate sanction for conduct which abuses the judicial process.'"
What is the background?
Sussmann was indicted last year after Durham's investigation, which focuses on the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, discovered that Sussmann lied to the FBI in September 2016 about a "secret channel of communications between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank."
The Clinton campaign seized on the allegations in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election, claiming that Donald Trump used a secret server in Trump Tower to communicate with the Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Those allegations were proved false.
But a new filing by Durham alleged that lawyers connected to the Clinton campaign paid a technology company to access servers in Trump Tower to fabricate a "narrative" linking Trump to Russia, thereby substantiating allegations that Trump was colluding with Russia. The information was included in the "factual background" portion of the filing, which Sussmann's lawyers want scrubbed from the court record.
Durham alleges that Sussmann worked with a tech executive, a law firm retained on behalf of the Clinton campaign, and other cyber researchers to prepare information that he would later turn over to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016.
When meeting with Baker, Sussmann allegedly said that he was not working on behalf of any particular client. However, Durham alleges that Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for the meeting. Sussmann's lawyers deny that Sussmann met with the FBI on behalf of Clinton's campaign.
Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.