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Greg Craig Case April 24 update FARA Forked

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Posted on April 24 2019

 

By way of background, June 2018 Manafort, Skadden, Greg Craig, Tony Fabrizio (Trump’s unpaid pollster) and Vin Weber, found here.

January 2019 Manafort (not) redacted Filing, found here. This is where we learn he gave Konstantin Klimnik internal Trump Polling data and worked far more closely with Tony Fabrizio and Greg Craig then we originally thought.

January 2019 Skadden Arps non-prosecution and retroactive FARA Filing, entry found here.

April 11, 2019 entry found here, where Greg Craig’s indictment is officially unsealed. 

April 16, 2019 entry found here, I still can not get over why Craig and/or his attorneys thought it was a good idea to publish his video statement. In <30 seconds you can hear/see Craig’s strategy, blame everything on Doug...

 

April 19 thru 24 updates...

I very much enjoy scheduling orders. This sets up an orderly expectation for all parties and gives us (the General Public) reasonable expectations. I should note that the Craig Scheduling Order is a very compressed timetable. Meaning that Craig’s pre-Trial schedule is super tight. To that end, it rivals that of their neighboring district EDVA. 

To affirm my general observation, the Court makes the following (and important) note to all parties. 

Given this compressed schedule, which the parties have considered and requested, the Court will not be inclined to grant any motions to extend the deadlines set forth above absent exigent circumstances. Any motion for extension must be filed at least two business days before the date to be extended.

By issuing this scheduling order (in advance of the trial) this puts both parties on notice. And it should act as a reasonable and equitable Rules of Engagement. From a judicial effiency and economy standpoint, it is incredibly wise to issue this order.

The reasonable assumption is Skadden Arps pursuant to their Settlement Agreement with the Department Of Justice, executed in January of 2019. Skadden Arps cooperation is both voluntary and required:

 

 ...in 2012 and 2013, Skadden received multiple inquiries from the Department’s FARA Registration Unit about its role in that campaign.

A partner then at Skadden made false and misleading statements to the FARA Unit, which led it to conclude in 2013 that the firm was not obligated to register under FARA. The facts, when uncovered, showed that Skadden was indeed required to register in 2012, and, under the Agreement, it will do so retroactively. (emphasis added)

On page 2 of the DOJ Skadden Arps  Settlement Agreement, See item # 4 (which is carried over to page 3 of the aforementioned agreement:

At the time of the DOJ announcement I sarcastically stated that Skadden Arps is now the property of the DOJ for matters surrounding the 2012 Tymoshenko Memo, Manafort, Vin Weber (Mercury). You will want to familiarize yourself with a firm that’s disclosed in Skadden’s retroative FARA Filing:

FTI Consulting 2012 FARA? Nope.

 

 

Case in point as you can see in Skadden Arps’ retroactive FARA, they clearly disclose that FTI Consulting created a media strategy plan surrounding the messaging of the 2012 Memo. Yet I’ve searched and searched the FARA database, House and Senate LDA databases and there is literally zero statutorily required filings by FTI Consulting. I suppose one argument is FTI was contracted by Mercury so arguably there is

see 2014 FTI FARA #6217 registration for Hong Kong Trade Development Council

see 2017 FTI FARA #6484 registration for the Government of Mexico

see 2018 FTI FARA #6569 registration for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

 

Here I’ve taken the liberty of enlarging Page 4 of Skadden Arps January 2019 retroactive FARA Filing:

 

 

Because I’ve searched high and low and I have yet to discover any FARA Filing by FTI or Vin Weber (Mercury) for the work that Skadden Arps disclosed in their retroactive January 2019 filing. 

And as odd as this sounds (yes I’m not thrilled that I’m in Agreement with one of the more partisan House GOP members, but Rep Collins makes an astute observation in his April 17, 2019 letter to Attorney General Barr:

Mr. Craig’s former law firm has already agreed to a $4.6 million settlement with the Department for FARA violations related to the work it did for the Ukrainian government. Prosecutors are also investigating potential FARA violations by Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and former congressman Vin Weber for work they performed for the Ukrainian government.

 

Now back to the filings concerning Craig’s criminal trial, in a bit of a surprising move yesterday the Government filed the following notice. Informing the Court that the Government does not believe a jury questionnaire is necessary. The Government also defers to the Court’s determination as it relates to voir dire. The Government’s motion reads in part:

 “confident that the Court can add a question or questions to its regular voir dire process to elicit the necessary information about potential media exposure and allow for a complete assessment of the members of the jury pool for their potential service in this case.”

 

To wit Craig filed the following notice. He’s actually requesting a “gag order”, which is ironic since Craig is the ONE who published a YouTube video on the day of his indictment. Yet in a stunning move Craig request that the Court use the advance questionnaire in the Manafort case.

 

Mr. Craig requests that the Court use a jury questionnaire in advance of jury selection. The questionnaire that this Court contemplated using in the Manafort trial (Case No. 17-cr-00201-ABJ, ECF No. 400) will provide a useful template, although it could likely be shortened for purposes of this case. Mr. Craig understands that the government objects to the use of a jury questionnaire, but if the Court agrees with Mr. Craig that a questionnaire is advisable, defense counsel will work with the government to prepare a joint proposed jury questionnaire on any schedule that the Court prescribes.

 

Shortly thereafter Craig filed a motion for an extension of time for Bill Of Particulars

:

Court’s permission to file any request for a bill of particulars on or before May 10, 2019, which is the due date for motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)(A) and (B).

 

And with today’s Minute Order, granting and denying in part, Craig’s request for additional time, which reads in part:

It is ORDERED that defendant may move for a bill of particulars under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(f) on or before April 30, 2019. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 4/24/19.

 

I think I know what Craig’s strategy is. He gave us an advance viewing of his strategy a few weeks go (as detailed in last week’s update)

 

Blame everyone else, admit to nothing  

 

 If I were a betting person I’d say that FTI Consulting, Mercury by way of Vin Weber are all in the DOJ FARA unit’s crosshairs. The question is does Craig use those entities as material witnesses and if so why haven’t they been indicted. That wraps up the Craig docket as of today, when updates become available I’ll let you know.  But I am stunned that Craig thought this YouTube video was the prudent move. It’s not, at all. Not even in the littlest way, it’s dumb and oddly exposes Craig to potentially being accused of tainting a jury pool. But perhaps that’s the real reason he posted this video.

Also remember a couple of weeks ago I went on a twitter screed about the DOJ FARA 2018 reports to Congress. There was a very specific reason for that rage twitter thread. If I were Craig’s Counsel I’d use that as a predicate that the DOJ is in violation of the following statute 

 

 

 

DOJ FARA & Mandatory Reports to Congress

22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq - United States Code

 

Specially  §621. Reports to Congress

The Attorney General shall every six months report to the Congress concerning administration of this subchapter, including registrations filed pursuant to the subchapter, and the nature, sources and content of political propaganda disseminated and distributed. 

 

The last report the DOJ FARA Unit sent to Congress was December 31, 2017...there were ZERO (statutorily REQUIRED) FARA reports sent to Congress in the entire 2018 Calendar year. ZERO. If you don’t believe here click this DOJ-FARA Congressional Report Link 

One of the main reasons my firm keeps me around is I’m usually forward looking and I tend to catch tiny details like, hmmm...if we have a client who’s facing a criminal trial related to FARA, let’s see what if any areas the DOJ is deficient. If Craig was my Client I’d say this is one area that he might have leverage but then again I’m not an attorney, I’m the asshole to does the research and formulates arguments and counter arguments, but always in service to my bosses and our clients.

 

 

 

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