A jury was selected Monday in the trial of Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign who is accused of lying to the FBI as it investigated potential ties between Donald Trump and Russia in 2016, the Associated Press reports. Sussman is a cybersecurity attorney who represented the Clinton campaign in 2016. The first trial arising from the ongoing investigation by special counsel John Durham will test the strength of evidence his team has gathered while scrutinizing the early days of the Trump-Russia probe for potential misconduct. Sussmann appeared with his lawyers Monday as both sides worked to select jurors to hear the case, expected to last about two weeks. Prospective jurors who had already filled out questionnaires answered follow-up questions about topics including political contributions during the 2016 election and their opinions on lawyers and the criminal justice system.
The case alleges a single false statement by Sussmann. He is accused of misleading the FBI's then-general counsel during a September 2016 meeting in which he presented research showing what he said might be a suspicious backchannel of communications between computer servers of the Trump Organization and a Russia-based bank. An acquittal might hasten questions about the Durham's probe purpose and cost to taxpayers while a guilty verdict will almost certainly energize Trump supporters who have long looked to Durham to expose what they see as biased treatment of the former president.