Former Obama counsel Gregory Craig indicted for lying to special counsel

U.S. President Barack Obama greets White House counsel Gregory Craig during an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House

Craig was charged with giving false information during an October 19, 2017, interview with the special counsel's office which regulates work in the United States by lobbyists, lawyers and other representatives of foreigners under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to CNBC.

Craig however is fighting the charges.

"President Obama's top White House lawyer, Gregory B. Craig, was indicted yesterday on very serious charges", Trump tweeted Friday.

A U.S. judge on Friday sentenced Republican political consultant Samuel Patten to 36 months of probation, 500 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine in a case spun out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe. U.S. Attorney General William Barr is expected to release a redacted version of Mueller's findings next week.

Mr Craig's work in the Ukraine happened after his year-long tenure with the Obama administration, while he was a senior partner at the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom law firm. His attorneys, in a separate statement, said the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan had already investigated the matter and declined to prosecute.

Notably, the law was cited in indictments of former chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted of engaging in a secretive lobbying operation for Kremlin-backed Ukrainian president back in 2012, and former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who admitted to a foreign lobbying violation when he pleaded guilty to making false statements.

The New York Times reported the project was directed to the firm by Manafort, who was a political consultant in the region at the time.

The report was billed as independent, and while critical in some ways of Tymoshenko's trial, critics have said it whitewashed a politically motivated prosecution.

Skadden has already agreed to pay $4.6 million to resolve claims the firm violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act for not reporting this work to the DOJ.

Under US law, all lobbyists for foreign governments must register with the department. They acknowledged that Craig spoke to reporters about the report but denied it was part of a public relations campaign that would run afoul of FARA. Authorities say that Craig lied to the Mueller team about his work with the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013. The firm then wrote a letter to the department's FARA unit containing Craig's false and misleading statements, which ultimately allowed for him and the firm to avoid registering, the indictment said.

The treatment of the Craig indictment in legacy media contrasted with the intense attention the media gave to other Mueller cases.

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