Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig pleads not guilty

Greg Craig pleads not guilty, released on personal recognizance

Prosecutors submitted evidence showing Craig knowingly avoided registering as a foreign agent and sought to hide the income he received for his work for Ukraine, including on producing and disseminating an "independent" report by Skadden that critics said whitewashed the treatment of Tymoshenko.

Craig maintains that he never concealed information or misled the Justice Department, and he is confident he'll beat the charges.

He served as the White House counsel in the Obama White House from 2009 to 2010.

A U.S. judge on Friday sentenced Republican political consultant Samuel Patten to 36 months of probation, 500 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine in a case spun out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.

A Washington-based lawyer, Craig allegedly lied to Mueller's office during an interview a year ago about work that his law firm did for the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013. His attorneys, in a separate statement, said the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan had already investigated the matter and declined to prosecute.

Craig pleaded not guilty on Friday to lobbying violations and making false statements.

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Specifically, Craig and the law firm were commissioned by Yanukovych and Ukraine's government to write a report to assess whether the government's prosecution of dissident Yulia Tymoshenko - a criminal case that was criticized widely as an abuse of power - was a "fair trial".

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty in September to, among other charges, serving as an unregistered foreign agent and giving false and misleading statements under the FARA statute.

What Craig and the law firm worked on was a report that made the then Ukrainian Prime Minister look like a REALLY good guy. "Without that, it does raise questions over whether the prosecution is political or not".

Skadden has already agreed to pay $4.6 million to resolve claims the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act for not reporting this work to the DOJ.

"There is no crime in being someone who is good at what you do - lawyer or otherwise - and working for a foreign government".

When the Justice Department determined that Craig should register under the law, the indictment says, Craig resisted the idea. They acknowledged that Craig spoke to reporters about the report but denied it was part of a public relations campaign that would run afoul of FARA. The law, enacted in 1938 to unmask Nazi propaganda in the United States, requires people to disclose to the Justice Department when they advocate, lobby or perform public relations work in the US on behalf of a foreign government or political entity.

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