February 12, 2022
The Michael Sussmann case is heating up.
On February 11, 2022, Durham filed the Government’s Motion to Inquire into Potential Conflicts of Interest in the Michael Sussmann case. Read it here. As you might recall, Sussmann was charged with giving false statements to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker regarding the interests he was representing in pushing to the FBI the Alfa Bank/Trump Organization hoax. More background information on the Sussmann indictment can be found here.
The basis for the latest motion is that Sussmann’s current counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP (Latham) might have a conflict of interest because Latham previously represented Perkins Coie and Mark Elias “in this investigation.” It is alleged that Latham “likely possesses confidential knowledge about Perkins Coie’s role in, and views concerning, Sussmann’s past activities.” (Cleaned up.)
There might also be a conflict because Latham was representing both the Clinton Campaign and Hillary for America in the Special Counsel’s investigation. Durham observes that Latham’s duties to these former clients “might cause its interests to diverge from those of [Sussmann].”
Why might there be a conflict?
Because Durham might offer evidence at trial he obtained from the Clinton Campaign and Hillary for America. And because certain employees of the Clinton Campaign and Hillary for America might be witnesses at Sussmann’s trial. (Theoretically, a Clinton Campaign witness could be called by the prosecution to prove-up billing records and payments made to Sussmann. I’d guess they might have already testified to a grand jury about this.)
Another conflict issue is that Latham helped Perkins Coie draft and issue public statements concerning Sussmann’s 2016 meeting with the FBI General Counsel. Per Durham, “Those statements – which [Sussmann] appears to have reviewed or assisted in drafting – were at least partially inaccurate and/or misleading.” Thus, “Latham may encounter potential conflicts of interest in advising the defendant concerning past events in which Latham played a significant role.”