Sussman Case update
As you know a hearing was held on May 4, 2022 and as much as I’d like to say it’s fine. It’s actually kind of fine -but the Ultra Conservative Disinformation machine is in overdrive..
On May 4, 2022 the following occurred after the oral arguments
Minute Entry for Motion Hearing held before Judge Christopher R. Cooper as to MICHAEL A. SUSSMANN (1) on 5/4/2022, re Government's 64 Motion to Compel Production of Documents for In Camera Review. Oral arguments heard and GRANTED. Bond Status of Defendant: remains on Personal Recognizance Bond (PR). Court Reporter: Lisa Moreira. Defense Attorneys: Michael Bosworth, Sean Berkowitz, Catherine Yao, and Natalie Hardwick. US Attorneys: Andrew DeFilippis, Michael Keilty, Deborah Shaw, and Jonathan Edgar Algo, III. Intervenor Attorneys: Joshua Levy for Fusion GPS and Robert Trout for Hilary for America. Movant Attorney: Steven Tyrrell for Rodney Joff
But there were a few other noteworthy developments. I would recommend you read the April 27th article embedded below
On May 3, 2022 the Court issued the following minute order, which reads in part:
MINUTE ORDER granting 111 Government's Sealed Motion for Unsealing Order. It is hereby ORDERED that the following documents be unsealed: (1) the Government's 72 Ex Parte Application for a Court Order to Compel Testimony from Laura Seago, (2) the Court's Order to Compel, and (3) any accompanying documents. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 5/3/2022
Document 72 (referenced in the above minute order) has been under seal since March 14, 2022
SEALED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE DOCUMENT UNDER SEAL filed by USA as to MICHAEL A. SUSSMANN. (This document is SEALED and only available to authorized persons.) (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Shaw, Deborah) (Entered: 04/19/2022) see DDC ECF
And oddly I don’t have any criticism of why this was under seal because no witness should be harassed or targeted by any political party. What’s odd about this is Laura Seago was a former Fusion GPS employee. And the ultra conservative disinformation-misinformation machine is in overdrive trying to make the “Tech Maven” narrative stick to Seago and more broadly Fusion GPS.
…Government’s Ex Parte Application for a Court Order to Compel Testimony from Laura Seago, the Court’s Order to Compel, the Motion to Seal, and the Court’s Order to Seal. As the Court is aware, this case has garnered significant media interest. The pre-trial disclosure of Ms. Seago as an immunized witness could subject Ms. Seago and her family to undue harassment and endanger their physical safety.
…but here’s something the ultra conservative propaganda machine won’t tell you —witnesses are offered immunity —all — the —time and yet (unsurprisingly) the Trump-Conservatives are salivating over the recently unsealed Ex Parte. As someone who’s spent countless hours preparing witnesses for their testimony (wether it be before a Grand Jury, Civil Depos etc) immunity isn’t uncommon.
And while I’ve largely been silent on Fusion GPS —I think it’s time to rip the bandaid off. The Trump-Conservatives have incorrectly branded Fusion as being part of a conspiracy. But here’s the unvarnished truth:
…Politics is a full contact sport, especially presidential elections…
Every and I mean every campaign does “opposition research” in fact in my line of work I’ve drafted numerous opposition research and reports for clients. The open secret is if you decide to run for public office —you should actually do your own opposition research of you ←yes I’m talking about the candidate.
Because your opponent will leave no stone unturned to find your “weak spot” that’s the down and dirty of politics. And frankly how the political sausage is made. With respect to presidential elections, MY GOD both the Democrats and Republicans have spent millions in “oppo research” —and those internal communications (setting aside attorney client and work product privileges) tend to be very casual and a lot of real time brainstorming. Sadly an over jealous prosecutor can (as evident by Durham) take internal communications completely out of context. In my industry we have a saying “before you hit send, just close your eyes and imagine this email being read back to you in a deposition”
However what Special Counsel, Trump and Trump-Republicans have done to Fusion, Christopher Steele and by proxy Hilliary Clinton —well it’s a gross distortion of “cherry picked” communiques and dare I say questionable filings by the prosecution. Moreover if you read the previously released HPSCI Glenn Simpson November 2017 Deposition (damnit I wish I could simply insert my past twitter threads) -below are a few highlights:
Simpson told the HPSCI that “someone on Trump team member approached the FBI before Chris Steele did and that “those concerns of Trump's (alleged) relationship to Russia.”
pages 287-288, Simpson refers to Sarah Huckabee Sanders “a liar” he did this at least four times in his depo. Largely because Sanders continually slandered Fusion by stating (with zero evidence), “Fusion GPS being a solely democratic tool, confirms they also investigated Obama during his campaign for senator…”
Fusion GPS was first hired by the conservative Washington Free Beacon in late 2015 to conduct opposition research on Trump.
In mid 2016 that original opposition research was shelved while an approach was made to the DNC via their law firm Perkins Coie
Simpson’s Nov 2017 depo -he clearly informed the HPSCI “that someone had already been killed” because of the dossier “leak”
With respect to the last two bullet points (above) the notion that an opposition research company (like Fusion GPS) wouldn’t use the intellectual property they created and approach the DNC AFTER the GOP decided to fully back Trump. That shouldn’t surprise you —(sorry for yelling)
THAT. IS. HOW. DC. WORKS.
That’s not me absolving Fusion GPS that’s me telling you what happened and it’s still happening to Fusion is just plain wrong. Trump & his obsequious sycophants repeatedly defamed, smeared and attacked Fusion.
Laura Seago’s testimony…
While most of you might think that the recent order un-sealing the Ex Parte Motion (filed by the Government in April 2022) is a big deal, I don’t think it is. Here’s why back in (see DC Superior Court database) and I’m going to remind you that in September 2021 I actually noted that Alfa-Bank appears to have revived their civil litigation, where I stated and provided you with a bunch of original documents:
Alfa Bank filed an appeal —the underlying subtext here is Alfa Bank wanted to know the name of the “anonymous data scientist” but the lower (State) Court ruled the bank wasn’t entitled to the unmasking of the data scientist and a reinstatement of Alfa’s 2020 Subpoena as to Jean Camp - to be fair I highly recommend you read Brian Kreb’s recent article —he does an excellent job explaining highly technical issues in simple terms an average reader can understand. Notwithstanding I do think you should be aware of the May 19, 2021 Judge Elizabeth Tavitas wrote the following;
And I specifically stated👇🏻
Pennsylvania Lancaster County - September 2021 Reinstatement of Alfa’s 2020 Complaint;
…On September 7, 2021 Alfa Bank moved for a reinstatement of their 2020 complaint . Again nothing that I’m reporting is located in a secret database. Nearly all of the documents I’ve embedded are sourced from public/government websites. So while many are solely focused on the Sussman indictment…
Now you are probably wondering why on earth am I bringing up Alfa-Bank and Laura Seago…because believe it or not there actually is a method to my madness…and if there appears to be connective tissue -I like to help you see what I see. Because it is not at all lost on me that largely the mainstream media has remained relatively silent on Alfa-Banks Oct 2021 renewed civil case.
To be clear the Court granted the Government’s request to review the emails in question. Which means or at least one could reasonably assume that the Court did not think the 3rd party interveners made a solid privilege argument —but we might be getting ahead of the Court. Because in granting an in-camera view -the court hasn’t officially ruled on the privilege claims and that’s important to remember.
Back to Alfa-Bank and Laura Seago as you’ll note in the October 2021 Alfa-Bank filing (see DC Superior Court database) the plaintiff viewed that Ms Seago (and her counsel) had intentionally obstructed the fact finding purpose of her deposition…and that they sought relief from the Court (again) to compel her testimony. Again as I noted in Sept 2021 I thought it was curious that Alfa-Bank renewed their civil litigation… nearly simultaneously Durham Indicted Sussman and Danchenko (you can read my previous articles here)
As you read Alfa-Bank’s Memorandum in support you’ll note that both Seago and Afla discuss at length: “Kovel Letter” below is the LexisNexis definition, which reads in part (and this is important because I’m fairly certain the 3rd party interveners and Sussman might reiterate this argument…
This form is a Kovel Letter. It is used in situations where you must communicate with a non-attorney accountant such as a CPA, but you want to extend the privileged communication beyond the attorney and to the tax or accounting professional should a tax controversy exist or occur.
This template includes practical guidance and a drafting note. Once the accountant is retained to assist counsel with legal services for the client, the accountant is eligible for the attorney’s attorney-client privilege as to any confidential communications made to him or her by either the attorney or the client during the course of rendering legal advice. United States v. Kovel, 296 F.2d 918 (2d Cir. 1961); United States v. Judson, 322 F.2d 460 (9th Cir. 1963); United States v. Schmidt, 360 F. Supp. 339 (M.D. Pa. 1973). While a written agreement is not legally required, it should be common practice in order to clearly establish the nature and parameters of the relationship. Moreover, having a written ...
Now of you think I’m off the mark by pointing to the Alfa-Bank civil litigation well I now refer you to pages 4 thru 8 but specifically pages 5 & 6 —the footnote is why I’m bringing this filing to your attention because there are a lot of details and facts contained herein.
What this October 2021 Memorandum in Support of Alfa-Bank’s Motion to Compel the testimony of Laura Seago —she walked out of her first deposition. The DC Superior Court later order Seago to avail herself to a deposition and to comply with the subpoena… when Seago sat down for the “follow up” (court ordered) Deposition— she wasn’t exactly cooperative and Alfa-Bank largely argues she improperly used “privilege claims” and refused to answer any questions on direct examination. Alfa Bank’s filing shows Seago refused to answer over sixty questions…
So when Special Counsel Durham filed his April 2022 Es Parte notice that his office has immunized Laura Seago’s testimony —It is unclear what if any damage she can do. But intellectually I understand why she’s refused to cooperate. In DC trust and client discretion are paramount. And once you pierce that veil -you can’t claw it back. Again I’m saying I understand her rationale —I just don’t understand why Durham didn’t use the Grand Jury for her testimony…
And lastly today marks one week since his suicide. I’m vacillating between sadness and anger. I promise I’m working my way towards acceptance. It’s a process.
But everyday since his death I’ve looked at my cell phone hoping he’ll call or email me. I know he won’t because he’s no longer here. At times I feel like an idiot hoping this past week was a bad dream. It’s not. He’s gone. There are so many questions and what sucks is I know the one question of “why” will never be answered and that absolutely pisses me off. Again I’m working my way towards acceptance but grief is hard. I’m also trying not to get lost in my grief. I’m taking tomorrow off because there’s a memorial service and attending that will likely mess with my head… until then;