Michael Sussmann, who was charged by special counsel John Durham, entered a plea of not guilty on Friday to a charge of lying to the FBI, multiple news outlets are reporting.
In a court appearance, a federal magistrate allowed Sussmann, an attorney, to remain out of jail on a $100,000 bond, according to The Hill.
The National Review said the indictment against Sussmann claims he lied in 2016 when he said he was not working on behalf of any clients when he turned over to the FBI information on potential communications between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian bank with alleged ties to the Kremlin.
The outlet said the indictment also alleges Sussmann was working for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton at the time.
Sussmann maintains he was representing a cybersecurity expert, who believed the information was a matter of national security, The Hill said.
Sussmann’s attorneys, Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner on Thursday: “The Special Counsel appears to be using this indictment to advance a conspiracy theory he has chosen not to actually charge. This case represents the opposite of everything the Department of Justice is supposed to stand for. Mr. Sussmann will fight this baseless and politically-inspired prosecution.”
According to CNN, Sussmann is only the second defendant in the two-and-a-half year investigation by Durham. The special counsel was tapped to probe the FBI’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election.