Greg Craig, Former White House Counsel for Obama Administration, Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Charges Connected to Mueller Investigation

Greg Craig on October 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Greg Craig, a prominent Democratic attorney who worked for two presidents, charging him with making false statements and concealing material information in connection with work he performed for Ukraine in a case stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Craig, 74, is the highest-profile Democrat to be indicted in a matter connected to Mueller’s work, which resulted in charges against numerous Republicans tied to President Donald Trump.

The case, which is being handled by the US Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia in association with the Justice Department’s national security division, is likely to bring renewed attention to the Justice Department’s application of a once-obscure law applying to unregistered foreign agents, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

Craig was originally investigated for an alleged FARA violation, though he was charged with other crimes after the statute of limitations on FARA expired in his case.

He is scheduled to enter a plea in federal court Friday afternoon.

Craig’s lawyers, William Taylor and William Murphy, called the indictment “unfair and misleading.”

“This indictment accuses Mr. Craig of misleading the FARA Unit of the Department of Justice in order to avoid registration. It is itself unfair and misleading. It ignores uncontroverted evidence to the contrary,” the lawyers wrote. “Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration. That is what this trial will be all about.”

The charges against Craig, who was White House counsel during the Obama administration, concern work he performed for Ukraine in 2012 while he was a partner at top law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. The Justice Department has said it was Paul Manafort, who later became Trump’s campaign manager, who arranged to hire Skadden to work for Ukraine.

Skadden’s client, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, hired it to write a report on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine, a project on which Craig was the lead attorney.

According to the indictment, from the start of the work on the report, Craig didn’t want to register as an agent for Ukraine “at least in part because he believe doing so could prevent him or others at [Skadden] from taking positions in the federal government in the future.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Erica Orden