Eric Lichtblau tries to narrow down questions in John Durham’s Sussmann case

Photos by Michael Sussmann and John Durham.

Michael Sussman and John Durham.

Special Advisor John Durhams legal department has refused to preventively limit the questions asked to a former New York Times Journalist subpoenaed to testify Michael Sussmann in an upcoming trial. This is acc documents Filed by attorneys for the reporter later this week.

A Application for protection order filled in by Eric Lightbluethe previous Times Journalist and two-time Pulitzer winner, tries to prevent such questions from getting beyond the core conversations between Lichtblau and Sussmann – conversations that led to a 2016 report on it Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russia.

Sussmann is accused of making a false statement to the FBI about Internet data linked to Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election. The alleged lie to Durhamis that Sussmann has not fully disclosed that his efforts were tied to his association with – and his work for – the then-competitor Hillary Clinton when he provided the data to the FBI attorney at the time James A Baker. Sussmanns Conversations with reporters data on this also came into play in connection with the case.

light blues Submissions identifies him as “Reporter-1” in the Sussmann indictment and confirms that the New York Times was called “Newspaper-1”.

“According to the indictment, Mr. Lichtblau communicated with the accused. . . ahead of Mr. Sussman’s meeting with FBI officials on September 19, 2016 Movement shows. “Statements allegedly made by the defendant at that meeting [with the FBI] form the basis of the indictment in this case.”

Eric Lightblue. (Image via YouTube Screengrab.)

Eric Lightblue. (Image via YouTube Screengrab.)

Light blue was behind an October 31, 2016 Times report titled Donald Trump probe, FBI sees no clear link to Russia. A statutory declaration Filed this week, revealing that Sussmann was “a confidential source” for that report, but it says Sussmann has since waived his request for confidentiality from Lichtblau.

Sussmann has subpoenaed Lichtblau to testify on his behalf at an upcoming trial, and Lichtblau was said to have been further implicated in the matter Movement:

Mr. Sussmann has waived confidentiality in relation to his communications with Mr. Lichtblau, and last month he served Mr. Lichtblau with a subpoena to a trial. Through an attorney, Mr. Lichtblau promptly expressed his concerns about the protection of other, privileged and still confidential news sources and unpublished information from the news collection. Mr. Sussmann’s attorney eventually agreed to limit the scope of questioning at the trial to the communications between Mr. Sussmann and Mr. Lichtblau – ie, information subject to change. Such disclosures could potentially be relevant to what Mr. Sussmann knew as of September 19, 2016 and therefore whether he knowingly made a materially false statement to the FBI.

But Durham “has refused to similarly limit the scope of the questioning,” the document states:

On May 2, 2022, after a period of reflection, the public prosecutor’s office stated that they could give “no assurance” that cross-examination of Mr. Lichtblau would be limited to his communications with Mr. Sussmann. On the contrary, the Government Counsel stated that certain email communications by Mr Lichtblau with third parties in the course of his news reporting were in the possession of the prosecution and that the prosecution could investigate Mr Lichtblau on aspects of his reporting separately and separately from his communications with the accused. During the discussions, the Special Counsel acknowledged those of the Justice Department new guidelines However, restricting the use of coercion to obtain information from reporters reflected the view that any reporter’s privileges would be “pierced” by a subpoena to a court hearing.

According to the Movement, Lichtblau feels comfortable as a witness in view of the waiver offered by Sussmann. But the document says Litchtblau was not pleased with the “Special Counsel’s intention to pursue interviews that may seek or lead to the identification of individuals Miscellaneous Confidential News Sources. . . or intelligence-gathering communications other than those with the defendant.” So Lichtblau asked the US District Judge Christopher R. Cooper Preventively limit questions about ancillary matters.

Lawyers of light blue quoted Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the privileges accorded reporters under the First Amendment and under the common law, and the Federal Rules of Evidence — particularly the rules on hearsay and relevance — to support the argument.

“[T]Assessment of Mr. Lichtblau’s reporting apart from his communication with Mr. Sussmann — ieincluding Miscellaneous communication with Miscellaneous Sources and potential sources – would be completely Lack of Evidence”. Movement argued. “As reporters like Mr. Lichtblau attempted to verify the data, any testimony would necessarily examine the accuracy of the data, an issue this court has severely qualified.”

Light blue then pointed to a recent case where the same district court — and judge, Judge Cooper — qualified a subpoena seeking communications with FOX News that were “less relevant” to a previous case.

“Limiting the amount of questioning that Mr. Lichtblau may be subjected to in the forthcoming trial in this matter is also best practice here, for exactly the same reasons the court articulated in this previous matter,” the Movement continues to argue. “Mr. Lichtblau’s testimony on matters other than his interactions with Mr. Sussmann cannot be of any conceivable relevance to this case, and allowing either party to question Mr. Lichtblau on such other, irrelevant matters clearly results in an “undesirable deterrent effect on First Amendment activities.” and ‘creates obvious First Amendment problems.'”

Judge Cooper, A Barack Obama Representative, ordered Durham’s team respond to the request on or before May 17.

Read the application, affidavits, exhibits and proposed protective order below:

[photo of Sussmann via YouTube screengrab; photo of Durham via U.S. Department of Justice portrait]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] Eric Lichtblau tries to narrow down questions in John Durham’s Sussmann case

James Brien

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