The jury on Tuesday found Michael Sussmann not guilty of making a false statement to the FBI in September 2016 when he said he was not working on behalf of any client, when he brought information alleging a covert communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
After a two week trial, and more than a day of deliberations, the jury found that Special Counsel John Durham’s team had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Sussmann’s statement was a lie, and that he was, in fact, working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe when he brought two thumb drives and a white paper alleging a Trump-Russia connection.
Sussmann was charged with one count of making a false statement to the FBI during his meeting with then-FBI General Counsel James Baker on Sept. 19, 2016.
In remarks following the verdict, Sussmann said that he had been falsely accused.
“I told the truth to the FBI, and the Jury clearly recognized this in their unanimous verdict today,” he said. “I’m grateful to the members of the jury for their careful thoughtful service. Despite being falsely accused I believe that Justice ultimately prevailed in my case. As you can imagine this has been a difficult year for my family and me. But right now we are grateful for the love and support of so many during this ordeal.”
Durham issued a terse statement expressing his office’s disappointment.
“While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” Durham said. “I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case.”
The jury included one federal government employee who told the judge they donated to Democrats in 2016 and another government employee who told the judge they “strongly” dislike former President Trump. Both of those jurors told the judge they could be impartial throughout the trial.
The jury also included a teacher, an illustrator, a mechanic and more. One juror had a child who was on the same high school sports team as Sussmann’s child.
The overwhelming majority of jurors selected told Cooper they had not heard of the case prior to jury service.