(RepublicanInformer.com)- Michael Sussmann, a Democratic lawyer accused of lying to the FBI about his work for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, has opted not to testify in his defense during his continuing trial on a false-statement allegation.
Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI when he denied working for the Clinton campaign while turning over accusations of computer ties between Donald Trump and Russia, according to prosecutors from Special Counsel John Durham’s office.
Sussmann’s defense team announced his decision not to take the stand in court on Thursday morning, signaling that the trial would be wrapping up soon and that jurors might be selected by the end of the week.
Sussmann’s refusal to testify in his defense reflects the defense team’s confidence in its case after two weeks of witnesses, evidence, and arguments in the U.S. District Court in Washington.
If Sussmann had testified, he would have exposed himself to cross-examination by the prosecution on several possible flaws in the defense case. A text message he sent to FBI General Counsel James Baker the night before Sussmann handed over data on a purported link between a Trump-related email server and a Moscow bank with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin is among them.
Sussmann informed Baker in a text message that he was “coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or organization,” which was found after he was charged last year.
Both parties in the case agreed on Thursday that the central question for the jury to decide is whether Sussmann lied at a meeting in Baker’s office at FBI headquarters on Sept. 19, 2016.
The decision to keep Sussmann off the witness stand also prevents prosecutors from probing him about the specifics of expenditure records provided by Durham’s team to link Sussmann’s FBI meeting with the Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign. Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for thumb drives comparable to those he delivered to Baker, according to those reports. At the same time, the defense pointed out that Sussmann charged the cab trips relating to the FBI headquarters meeting to a generic account at Perkins Coie, where he was a partner at the time.