WASHINGTON – Jury selection started on August 12 at the U.S. District Court in the trial of former White House counsel Greg Craig, who is accused of misleading authorities in relation to the work he performed for the benefit of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The trial is in relation to work that Craig and his law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom did for Yanukovych in 2012 which involved compiling a 187-page report on behalf of Paul Manafort, who was advising the Russia-friendly president at the time.
Prosecutors allege that Craig intentionally misled the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in order to avoid registering as a foreign agent based on his Ukraine-related work.
Craig’s defense lawyers have rejected the allegation in an interview with Politico.
His co-owned law firm was paid $4.6 million for a 2012 report that largely vindicated the prosecution of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who was found guilty of abusing her office.
Internationally, her prosecution at the time was considered payback by Yanukovych who wanted to remove a political enemy.
She was released early from prison in the wake of the pro-European Maidan protests in 2014 that saw Yanukovych abandon office and flee to Russia.
The order for the report came from Manafort who, after working in Ukraine, briefly headed U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign before his work for Yanukovych, his allies, and political party came to light.
According to prosecutor Fernando Campoamor-Sanches, after Craig’s report was released, Manafort praised him, Politico reported.
“Well done,” he wrote Craig. “The pro has emerged again…The initial rollout has been very effective and your background has been key to it all.”
Craig’s trial grew out of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation that also led to the prosecution of Manafort for lobbying violations and financial crimes. He is currently serving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence.
Earlier this year, Skadden agreed to turn over the $4.6 million it was paid for the 2012 report as part of a settlement with the Justice Department and registered under FARA.
Craig was indicted in April on two counts, but a federal judge in August dismissed one of the counts.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson dismissed the count that alleged Craig had made false statements to the government in violation of FARA.
Craig is a well-known attorney in Democratic political circles and is a former lawyer in ex-President Barack Obama’s administration.