Ex-Obama Counsel Expects Charges in Mueller-Related Probe

Erika Holt
April 14, 2019

In 2013, the Justice Department inquired whether the firm's work for Mr. Yankovich required it to register as a foreign agent of the Ukrainian government.

He faces charges of making false statements and making misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act statements.

Thus, Craig is the first Democrat to to be charged as a result of the Mueller probe.

While at Skadden, Mr. Craig was tapped to prepare a formal report justifying then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yankovich's prosecution of a political rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

In court documents, prosecutors accused Craig of failing to file as a lobbyist for his work in Ukraine in 2012 pursuant to FARA guidelines because "doing so could prevent him...from taking positions in the federal government in the future", among other reasons. The deal forced the law firm to turn over the more than $4.5m it was paid by Ukraine and to register as a foreign agent retroactively. "I think we don't have to with this assignment, yes?" he wrote in a February 2012 email. After the initial inquiry into Craig and Skadden was opened by Mueller, Craig's case was referred to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of NY and then again to prosecutors in the US Attorney's office for the District of Columbia.

According to reports, a former Obama-era White House counsel may soon be charged in an investigation related to the Mueller probe.

The crackdown on those who work on behalf of foreign governments without giving the US government proper notice has ramped up recently.

But human rights advocates say the report had been engineered by Yanukovych's government and had whitewashed the jailing of his political opponent.

Manafort also did lobbying work for the Ministry of Justice. Craig left Skadden in April 2018.

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Gregory Craig faces federal charges in relation to legal work he did for the Ukrainian government in 2012 after leaving the White House. Manafort, the former campaign chairman to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty previous year to charges related to his Ukraine lobbying.

Craig's lawyers castigated the government for bringing the charges and said their client had refused all requests to participate in Ukraine's media campaign to promote the Tymoshenko report.

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. The point of the report was to present an independent analysis of the Tymoshenko prosecution.

Lawyers for Craig had said they expected an indictment in a statement on Wednesday, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Craig's attorneys met with Justice Department prosecutors in recent days in a bid to avoid charges against him, CNN has reported.

Prosecutors said they believe he also tried to hide a public relations firm's involvement in the ordeal. It admitted it was paid $4.6 million for the report, and not the $12,000 the Ukrainian government said at the time.

Another onetime Skadden lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, and the firm itself have been the focus of earlier action by the Justice Department.

Craig delivered a copy of the Tymoshenko report by hand to the reporter's home, according to the indictment, and spoke with a Moscow-based reporter for the paper, which has separately been identified as The New York Times.

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