The doable fees are linked to false statements Craig allegedly gave to investigators who had been wanting on the work he carried out for Ukraine.
Although Mueller’s investigation has ended, numerous inquiries that had been referred out by his workplace dwell on in different prosecutors’ workplaces, and Craig’s is among the many earliest and most uncommon.
A evaluate of the case towards Craig, a lot of it beforehand unreported, demonstrates the tumultuous path of the investigation of one of many nation’s most distinguished attorneys, a matter that has gone on for therefore lengthy and adjusted fingers so many instances that the statute of limitations for the preliminary matter for which he was investigated — failure to register as a international agent — has expired.
This story is predicated on data from six individuals conversant in the federal government’s investigation, which is now within the fingers of the Justice Division’s nationwide safety division and the US Legal professional’s workplace for the District of Columbia.
A spokesman for the nationwide safety division declined to remark. A consultant for the US Legal professional’s workplace for the District of Columbia didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Craig’s attorneys, William Taylor and William Murphy, mentioned: “If the Nationwide Safety Division stubbornly insists on prosecuting Mr. Craig, any such fees could be a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
Craig initially got here into the crosshairs of federal prosecutors in mid-2017, in the course of the investigation by Mueller. Craig and his then-firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, had carried out work starting in 2012 for Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice. It was a shopper relationship the Justice Division has mentioned was cast with the help of Paul Manafort, who later grew to become President Donald Trump’s marketing campaign chairman.
The particular counsel staff was intrigued by the notion of utilizing a once-obscure legislation, the International Brokers Registration Act, or FARA, to pursue instances of people appearing as unregistered international brokers, a cost the particular counsel subsequently introduced towards Manafort and his enterprise associate, Rick Gates, each of whom have since admitted to failing to register as international brokers for his or her work for Ukraine. Craig and Skadden, in the course of the course of their work for Ukraine, hadn’t registered below FARA.
Craig was interviewed twice by the particular counsel staff — as soon as within the fall of 2017, at which era he was represented by Skadden’s basic counsel, and a second time in March 2018, by which level he had retained his personal counsel. Days after the second interview, particular counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann knowledgeable Craig that his case was being transferred to the US Legal professional’s Workplace for the Southern District of New York.
Presentation to prosecutors
The US legal professional’s workplace seemed to be devoting important assets to the issues. Craig’s attorneys held a collection of conferences with federal prosecutors from Manhattan and the Justice Division’s nationwide safety division starting in late August 2018 that included an in depth presentation the legal professionals gave to the US Legal professional’s workplace in early September.
In attendance at an hours-long assembly in Manhattan in early September had been US Legal professional Geoffrey Berman, deputy US Legal professional Rob Khuzami and the workplace’s chief counsel Audrey Strauss, in addition to greater than a dozen different prosecutors.
Craig’s attorneys emphasised to Berman and the others that when Craig spoke to reporters, particularly to a New York Occasions reporter who wrote an preliminary story on the report, it was for the aim of stopping what he believed could be a mischaracterization of the doc, and did not coordinate his outreach with Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice.
In addition they identified that Craig did not invoice for that outreach as a result of he did not imagine he was appearing on behalf of Ukraine. They usually maintained to prosecutors that his contact with reporters was to appropriate the impression that the report was favorable to Ukraine, a step that ran opposite to Ukraine’s pursuits.
Lastly, they raised considerations that Craig, a distinguished Democrat, was being examined partially to because of the political local weather and to compensate for an investigative emphasis on Trump-connected Republicans because of Mueller’s probe. Craig’s attorneys additionally despatched prolonged written submissions and subsequent written memos outlining these factors.
Within the fall of 2018, the US Legal professional requested Craig’s attorneys to increase the statute of limitations on the FARA inquiry, a follow referred to as tolling. It was weeks earlier than the midterm elections, and Craig’s attorneys raised considerations that they had been being requested to increase the statute merely in order that the workplace might keep away from the selection of whether or not to indict Craig on the eve of an election. Berman promised that wasn’t the case, and Craig agreed to increase the statute for 90 days.
In early January, days earlier than the tolling settlement was set to run out, nationwide safety division prosecutors knowledgeable Craig’s staff that his case had been transferred once more, this time to the US Legal professional’s workplace for the District of Columbia. Craig’s attorneys made one other presentation, this time in early 2019 to prosecutors from that workplace and the nationwide safety division.
In keeping with individuals acquainted the matter, New York federal prosecutors decided they did not have ample proof to convey fees towards Craig.
A spokeswoman for the US Legal professional’s workplace for the Southern District of New York declined to remark.
Skadden makes a deal
This January, nonetheless, the Justice Division’s nationwide safety division disclosed that it had settled with Skadden in an settlement that compelled the agency to show over $4.6 million it earned for its 2012 work for Ukraine and to retroactively register as a international agent. The language of the settlement appeared to depart Craig uncovered to potential felony fees for what the doc describes as his repeated “false and deceptive” statements to Justice Division officers.
No notes had been taken throughout Craig’s assembly with the FARA unit in 2014 wherein prosecutors allege he made false statements, nonetheless. Quite, the Justice Division seems poised to cost Craig primarily based on his personal recollection of what was mentioned within the assembly, which he conveyed in a letter he composed afterward.
In current weeks, Justice Division prosecutors have privately advised that Craig enter right into a plea deal.
He has rejected that possibility.