Former Obama counsel Gregory Craig indicted for lying to special counsel

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Craig's attorneys met with Justice Department prosecutors in recent days in a bid to avoid charges against him, CNN has reported.

Lawyers for former Obama administration White House counsel Craig say they expect their client to be charged in a foreign lobbying investigation that grew out of the special counsel's Russian Federation probe. In private practice, his clients have included former North Carolina Sen. Manafort, a veteran Republican operative, meanwhile worked as a consultant to Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's pro-Kremlin president, who was later ousted.

After the FARA unit then concluded that the firm needed to register as an agent of Ukraine, Craig and other Skadden attorneys met with members of the FARA unit in October 2013, and Craig "made false and misleading statements", particularly that "his media contacts were exclusively reactive and for the goal of correcting misinformation".

Craig, 74, is accused of making false statements and concealing information from the Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Unit regarding his work for the Ukranian government.

Prosecutors say Craig lied to both his law firm and government investigators about the extent and nature of his contacts with the media in connection to a report he prepared on Ukraine.

The issue that has been under examination has to do with contact Craig made in late 2012 with several newspaper reporters at the time of the public release of a report he had written for Skadden's client, the Ukranian Ministry of Justice, on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine. The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia announced the charges.

In its settlement earlier this year, Skadden acknowledged it participated in a public relations campaign for the report and should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, because of it.

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The FARA unit began to ask Skadden in 2013 whether it had an obligation to register as a foreign agent for its work in Ukraine.

"You are 'THE MAN, '" he wrote Craig in an email after the report received favorable media coverage, according to the indictment.

The special counsel has already successfully prosecuted a case connected to the Ukraine report at the center of Craig's case. "I think we don't have to with this assignment, yes?"

"Mr. Craig has no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration".

It criticized Tymoshenko's behavior during the trial and concluded that her due-process rights had not been violated, but also said that she had been improperly imprisoned during the trial.

Craig's lawyers, William Taylor and William Murphy, called the indictment "unfair and misleading".

FARA is a decadesold law meant to allow Americans to know when foreign entities are trying to influence public opinion or policymakers. The law, enacted in 1938 to unmask Nazi propaganda in the United States, requires people to disclose to the Justice Department when they advocate, lobby or perform public relations work in the USA on behalf of a foreign government or political entity. Last month, Manafort was sentenced to a total of 7 1/2 years in prison for lobbying violations and financial crimes.

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