One of the key figures implicated in the bombshell Durham dropped about the Clinton campaign spying on former president Donald Trump is Michael Sussman, a lawyer involved with the Clinton Campaign who Durham alleges was involved with washing the internet data collected and handing it to the intelligence agencies.
Well, Sussman is fighting back; he recently asked for the judge to dismiss the lying to the FBI charge that he’s faced with, arguing that the lie the charge relates to wasn’t material to the case at hand and thus not something that he can get in legal trouble for.
Of course, that lie is one relating to his working to gather dirt on former President Trump and spread it around, creating the lies that Trump was connected to the Kremlin. When questioned about that by the FBI, Sussman claimed he wasn’t working on anyone’s behalf, an outright lie. Now that Durham has stirred up the hornet’s nest, Sussman’s trying to get out of it by claiming that the 1st Amendment somehow protected his lie.
Durham isn’t having it. Arguing against Sussman’s motion to dismiss in a recent court filing, he went off on the 1st Amendment claim, saying that Sussman is misrepresenting what happened and describing Sussman’s lie as “political deceit,” Durham writes:
Far from finding himself in the vulnerable position of an ordinary person whose speech is likely to be chilled, the defendant – a sophisticated and well-connected lawyer – chose to bring politically-charged allegations to the FBI’s chief legal officer at the height of an election season.
Continuing that takedown and getting to the “political deceit” line, Durahm said:
He then chose to lie about the clients who were behind those allegations. Using such rare access to the halls of power for the purposes of political deceit is hardly the type of speech that the Founders intended to protect. The Court should therefore reject defendant’s invitation to expand the scope of the First Amendment to protect such conduct.
Going on to continue tearing Sussman’s claim to pieces in the next paragraph, blasting the argument that the 1st Amendment is somehow implicated in Sussman’s lie, Durham writes:
Third, the defendant’s assertion that the charges in this case will somehow imperil communications between lawyers and the government is also fanciful.
Durham also notes that Sussman, a well-connected lawyer, knew what he was supposed to do when being questioned by the FBI, arguing:
As a former government attorney and prosecutor, the defendant was well aware that the law required him to be honest and forthright when communicating with the FBI.
Then, getting back to what Sussman did wrong and explaining why his lies don’t deserve Constitutional protection, Durham says:
Despite that knowledge, the defendant chose to conceal from the FBI that he was acting as a paid advocate for clients with political and business agendas. This false statement deprived the FBI of critical information that might have permitted it to better allocate its resources, make critical decisions regarding the opening or conduct of the investigation, and examine the origins of the purported data. That lawyers should be honest in their dealings with federal law enforcement agencies is not an imposition that the Constitution prohibits.