‘Anyone shocked?’ DC jury acquits Michael Sussmann of lying to the FBI over phony Trump-Russia link

Former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann has been acquitted of lying to the FBI when he pushed what proved to be unfounded suspicions linking former President Donald Trump to a Russian bank ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

There were indications all along that Sussmann was seeing a very different reception from the court than those brought to trial under former special counsel Robert Mueller and being found not guilty will only add to the speculation that the odds were in his favor. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, an Obama appointee, presided over the trial.

He was charged with making a false statement to the FBI in September 2016 when he said he was not working on behalf of any client when he tipped the bureau off.

“After a two week trial, and more than a day of deliberations, the jury found that Special Counsel John Durham’s team had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Sussmann’s statement was a lie, and that he was, in fact, working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe when he brought two thumb drives and a white paper alleging a Trump-Russia connection,” Fox News reported.

Sussmann’s was the second criminal case brought by Special Counsel John Durham. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was the first person to be charged and he was sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to doctoring an email to get a FISA warrant allowing a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to be renewed.

“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” Durham said in a statement. “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”

The case was tried in the nation’s capital and The Washington Post commented on the daunting statistics working against the prosecution.

“In 2016, DC voters favored Clinton over Trump, 90.9% to 4.1%, and Democrats in the nation’s capital now outnumber Republicans, 76.5% to 5.4%, according to an April 30 tally posted online by the local Board of Elections,” the newspaper reported.

There were also concerns about the prospective jury pool.

The jury panel featured “three Hillary Clinton donors,” according to the New York Post, including one woman who donated to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

A former bartender who supported Clinton was put on the panel after she assured a Sussmann defense lawyer she could be impartial after being told that neither Clinton nor former President Donald Trump were on trial. Another woman, who appeared to be in her forties, said she likely donated to Clinton’s 2016 campaign but wasn’t entirely sure, the Post reported. The juror said she could be impartial, although she “certainly had a strong preference for one candidate over the other.”

Fox News reported that the panel included “one federal government employee who told the judge they donated to Democrats in 2016 and another government employee who told the judge they ‘strongly’ dislike former President Trump — both of those jurors told the judge they could be impartial throughout the trial.”

It didn’t take long for reaction and anger over the jury’s decision to roll in:

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