Ex-Obama lawyer Greg Craig takes stand, denies lying about Ukrainian work

nearvideo Greg Craig is accused of making false statements

Obama counsel on trial; Craig has pleaded not guilty.

The former Obama White House attorney Greg Craig took the stand on Wednesday in the foreign lobbying case against him and insisted in federal court that he did not lie to the government of the United States about his work in Association with the government of Ukraine.

The case relates to whether or not Craig was the legal work to non-declared foreign lobbying. Craig, of not registering as a foreign agent, was questioned about his contacts with journalists, after his company was commissioned by the government of Ukraine for the assessment of the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister.


In court, Craig admitted in an interview with two reporters for The New York Times and a reporter for the London Telegraph on the report, but said he believed that he needed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

“I don’t think any of this contact person for the press alerted me to a press-agent or the agent for the Ukraine”,” Craig said.

But questioned why he pointed to the Ministry of justice FARA unit, which he said can reach journalist David Sanger of the New York Times, Craig: “I’ve only got it confused.”

Defendants in white-collar cases are often witness reluctant to submit themselves for cross-examination. But Craig’s testimony appeared to be vital to the defense effort to refute allegations that he was part of a PR campaign for the Ukrainian government, and that he lied to the justice Department about it.

In April, Craig is the first prominent Democrat was to be accused in a case, which is made up of former special counsel Robert Mueller, now the probe is completed in the Russian election disorders. Müller referred to the Craig case to the Prosecutor’s office in New York last year after the discovery of possible misconduct while he studied, the former trump-campaign-Chairman Paul Manafort, the Ukraine lobby.

The grand jury indicted Craig on two counts of false and misleading statements to investigators-including Miller’s team, and the DOJ National Security Division FARA-unit-in connection with his work on behalf of the Russia-backed former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. One of those counts was dismissed before trial.


Greg Craig, the former White House counsel to former President Barack Obama, in a Federal court for his trial, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

FARA-related cases rarely go to court. But the work that drew the justice Department’s attention in 2012, when Craig and his law firm were present at the time of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — by the government of Ukraine to check, the persecution of Tymoshenko and report whether the study met the Western standards of justice.

Tymoshenko was a political opponent of Yanukovych, a longtime Manafort patron Saint and a political figure, which partner Rick Gates said they had helped to be elected.

In court on Wednesday, Craig said the report never came to a conclusion about whether the prosecution was motivated by Tymoshenko politically.

“It was important for me to describe the media, the report, had written, we are,” he said. “Otherwise it would look like we had written, what he wanted to write to Ukraine to us, and that was simply not true.”

The criminal prosecution marks a dramatic fall for the now-retired attorney who represented so far, as White House counsel in the Obama administration, and has a number of high-profile customers.

The Ministry of justice sets the Foreign Agents Registration Act was to debunk adopted in 1938, Nazi propaganda in the United States. It requires people to reveal, to the Ministry of justice, if they advocate, lobby or perform public relations work in the United States, on behalf of a foreign government or a political unit.

Fox News, Gregg Re, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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