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A U.S. District Court judge said Hillary Clinton’s tweets claiming former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia will not be admitted as evidence in the trial against her 2016 campaign lawyer.
Judge Christopher Cooper on Wednesday denied Special Counsel John Durham’s request to allow the tweets in the Michael Sussmann upcoming trial for lying to the FBI.
He ruled that Clinton’s tweets would be excluded as hearsay and that it would be ‘duplicative of other evidence,’ the Washington Examiner reported.
The two tweets come from October 31, 2016, when Clinton highlighted a Slate article uncovering the Trump Organization’s alleged communications with the Kremlin-tied Alfa Bank, allegations that have since been heavily scrutinized by the FBI yielding to no further action by authorities.
‘It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,’ Clinton had tweeted at the time.
‘Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank,’ she added in a follow up tweet.
Prosecutors – led by special counsel John Durham – said the source of the article and allegations against the Trump Organization stem from Sussmann.
He is accused of lying to the FBI in September 2016 saying he didn’t work for the Clintons when he presented the ‘purported data and ‘white papers’ that supposedly demonstrated a ‘covert communications channel’ between Trump and Alfa Bank.
A U.S. District Court judge denied Special Counsel John Durham’s request to allow Hillary Clinton’s tweets in the trial against her former campaign lawyer, Michael Sussmann (above)
The two tweets come from October 31, 2016, when Clinton highlighted a Slate article uncovering the Trump Organization’s alleged communications with the Kremlin-tied Alfa Bank, allegations that have since been heavily scrutinized by the FBI
Durham had argued that the tweets should be allowed in court because Clinton had allegedly presented them as ‘truth’ and that the tweets ‘show the existence of the defendant’s attorney-client relationship with the Clinton Campaign, which is directly relevant to the false statement charge.’
Sussmann’s lawyers, however, argued that the tweet is hearsay and irrelevant and would only confuse the jury into thinking Clinton was part of an alleged conspiracy.
‘The tweet, which was posted on October 31, 2016, does not reveal anything about Mr. Sussmann’s state of mind over a month earlier, when he purportedly made the alleged false statement,’ the defense wrote, according to court records.
‘There is a real danger that if the tweet were admitted, the jury would believe that Hillary Clinton herself was part of the Special Counsel’s uncharged conspiracy and that she had a direct interest or involvement in Mr. Sussmann’s efforts.
‘Drawing the candidate herself into this matter in this way would be unfair to Mr. Sussmann.’
The defense previously accused Durham politicizing the trial by claiming that Clinton spied on Trump in court filings in February.
Sussmann’s lawyers argued that the tweet is hearsay and irrelevant and would only confuse the jury into thinking Clinton (pictured in April) was part of an alleged conspiracy against her then-presidential opponent Donald Trump
According to Durham’s indictment, gave the FBI evidence of potential cyber links between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank Sussmann and lied by saying he was not passing along information about Trump on behalf of any specific client.
The indictment said Sussmann turned over that information to the FBI not as a ‘good citizen’ but as an attorney representing a U.S. technology executive, Rodney Joffe, and Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Last week, Durham asserted that the alleged relationship with the former President and Russia – which Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann concluded – was ‘user-created.’
‘While the FBI did not reach an ultimate conclusion regarding the data’s accuracy or whether it might have been in whole or in part genuine, spoofed, altered, or fabricated, [the CIA] concluded in early 2017 that the Russian Bank 1 data and Russian Phone Provider 1 data was not ‘technically plausible,’ did not ‘withstand technical scrutiny,’ ‘contained gaps,’ ‘conflicted with [itself]’ and was ‘user-created and not machine/tool generated,” he wrote in the court documents.
Durham did, however, say the Special Counsel’s Office ‘has not reached a definitive conclusion in this regard.’
The Special Counsel said that regardless of if the information ‘was actually unreliable or provided a motive’ for the lie, any evidence concerning the steps the intelligence agencies took to ‘investigate these matters is critical to establishing materiality.’
He said the evidence will allow the jury to determine if Sussmann’s alleged lie could have ‘influenced or impaired government functions.’