Ex-Obama aide charged with lying to Justice Department

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Washington, April 12 (IANS) Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in former President Barack Obama’s administration, was charged with lying to the Justice Department and concealing information about work he did in 2012 for Ukraine.

Craig, in a video posted on YouTube on Thursday night, called the charges against him “unprecedented and unjustified”, and expressed confidence “that both the judge and the jury will agree with me”, reports The New York Times.

The indictment of Craig, 74, stemmed from an investigation initiated by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, had been the basis for charges brought against several people who had been investigated by Mueller. The 1938 law requires Americans to register with the Justice Department when they lobby or do public relations in the United States for foreign politicians, parties or governments.

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Before Craig’s indictment, the recent charges brought in cases initiated by Mueller had accused people of failing to disclose their lobbying work.

The charges against Craig, on the other hand, stem from public relations, rather than lobbying.

While Craig was not charged with failing to register under the law, the indictment accuses him of lying to, and withholding information from, the Justice Department officials who oversee FARA in order to avoid registration.

“Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration,” his lawyers William Taylor and William Murphy, said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the part of the Justice Department that oversees the law.

Craig’s indictment also attracted notice because he is the first person who made his name in Democratic Party politics to be charged in a case linked to Mueller’s investigation.

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Craig also held prominent positions in the administration of former President Bill Clinton.

–IANS

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