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Former Obama counsel acquitted of lying to Justice Department

Gregory Craig. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Gregory Craig, former White House counsel under Barack Obama, was acquitted by a federal jury on Wednesday of a felony charge that he deliberately misled the Justice Department about his work for the Ukrainian government in 2012.

Why it matters, per the New York Times: "The trial exposed in detail how a foreign government was able to harness Washington's industry of lawyers, lobbyist and public relations experts"

Context: The charge of concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities emerged after Craig and his then-law firm were hired to produce an independent report for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice analyzing the trial of an opposition politician.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, "Legal work for a foreign government of the kind [Craig's firm] was hired for wouldn't necessarily trigger an obligation to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent." But prosectors argued that Craig engaged in questionable public relations efforts with U.S. media outlets and avoided the requirement to register as a foreign agent.
  • Craig was the only appointee of a Democratic administration charged because of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the BBC reports.