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BigLaw Lawyer Indicted for Misleading Justice in Mueller Probe

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 13: Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, testifies at a hearing on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on whether, ten years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the country is safer than it was. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

For some people, lawyers accusing lawyers of wrongdoing is almost poetic justice. The attorney-haters cheer when the combatants square off. No matter who loses, justice will be served.

That's about the way it looks, especially after the drawn-out political battle of the Mueller investigation. Right now, Republicans are cheering because a prominent Democrat has been indicted.

Of course, he is a lawyer.

Misleading Justice

Greg Craig, former White House counsel for Barack Obama, has been charged with two felonies for allegedly misleading the Justice Department. The charges stem from work he did as a private attorney for the Ukraine.  

Craig, a partner at Skadden Arps at the time, allegedly failed to disclose his work on a report for Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. For the law firm, it's another fine mess its lawyers have gotten into. Former Skadden associate Alex can de Zwann has already pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in the Mueller probe. In the fracas, the firm has agreed to pay $4.6 billion to resolve claims it violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

It gets worse, or better depending on your perspective. Paul Manafort, who is serving 73 months in prison, had engaged the law firm to write the report for the Ukrainian government. Manafort was sentenced in two cases, and then indicted -- again. Meanwhile, Skadden is on the ropes -- again.

'Entirely Innocent'

As fate would have it, Craig appeared before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. She was the last judge to sentence Manafort.

William Taylor, Craig's lawyer, said his client was "entirely innocent." He said there is no affirmative duty to convey "all relevant facts" to the government. Jackson noted the indictment alleges Craig made false statements. He asked for an early trial date, and judge was ready to accommodate them. "I will try to come up with something that works so that this case is tried in August," the judge said.

The criminal trial is expected to take two weeks. The political battle should last much longer.

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