A Democratic lawyer of repute who was formerly employed by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton is reportedly close to being charged.
Greg Craig resigned from the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in April 2018 after Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan‘s false statements guilty plea during Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation. Van der Zwaan was jailed the same month.
While Craig was not charged then, he was also originally on Mueller’s radar. This would mean he would become the first Democrat to have been busted as a result of the Mueller probe. As CNN noted in its report about charges, the case was referred out from Mueller to the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Currently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) national security division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are handling the case.
Key issues have marked the case along the way. It started as a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) violation — failing to register as a foreign agent for his work supervising the construction of a report authored by the Ukrainian government in 2012 — something that prosecutors also showed interest in with Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen. The point being, there’s been an uptick in FARA enforcement.
The FARA statute of limitations has expired in Craig’s case, but now he faces the false statements charge that, you may remember, was almost Mueller’s calling card. The charge stems from a meeting in 2014 with the DOJ’s FARA unit.
Craig’s attorneys have asserted that a DOJ decision to prosecute Craig would be “a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
As Law&Crime previously reported, SDNY long eyed Craig for possible charges over his efforts to supervise the construction of a report authored by the Ukrainian government, but CNN says SDNY (now that the case is in D.C.) didn’t believe they had the evidence to charge Craig. SDNY hasn’t commented about that.
Mueller previously alleged that former Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort conspired with various parties–foreign and domestic–to help Ukrainian authorities conceal the fact that they paid in excess of $5.2 million for said report.
The D.C.-based FARA team is reportedly “aggressive.” The team itself is being overseen by a high-profile former lieutenant in the special counsel’s wide-ranging Russia probe, Brandon Van Grack, who was one of the Assistant U.S. Attorneys working on the government’s case against Manafort in the Eastern District of Virginia last summer.
A January settlement between Skadden and the Justice Department singled out Craig, claiming he made “false and misleading” statements to other Skadden attorneys and the Justice Department regarding his work on the report. Craig lawyered up in September of last year.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Image via Steve Exum/Getty Images]