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Judge orders Steele dossier firm Fusion GPS to give John Durham emails

Judge orders Steele dossier firm Fusion GPS to give John


Special counsel John Durham scored a victory Thursday when a federal judge ordered the research firm behind the infamous “Steele dossier” to turn over nearly two dozen emails regarding its work with Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann.

The 22 emails had not been turned over to the special counsel by research outfit Fusion GPS after the Clinton campaign asked them to assert attorney-client privilege and “work-product” privilege over the communications.

The emails, which largely consist of internal communications between Fusion employees, don’t fall under those protections, in part because they show Fusion employees were planning to push their findings to the press — not solely carrying out legal work for the campaign.

“Because these emails appear not to have been written in anticipation of litigation but rather as part of ordinary media-relations work, they are not entitled to attorney work-product protection,” Judge Christopher Cooper wrote in the opinion Thursday.

The Clinton campaign had claimed it hired Fusion for legal consulting related to defamation and libel, given candidate Donald Trump’s “well-documented history of litigiousness,” Cooper explained in the opinion.

Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that the emails must be turned over to special counsel John Durham (above) because they are not “entitled to attorney work-product protection.”
Department of Justice via AP, File

Because Fusion employees were working in that legal capacity, the emails should be protected, attorneys for the campaign and research outfit said — an argument Cooper rejected.

“It is clear that Fusion employees also interacted with the press as part of an affirmative media relations effort by the Clinton Campaign,” he wrote. “That effort included pitching certain stories, providing information on background, and answering reporters’ questions.”

The research firm will have to turn over the communications on Monday, the same day jury selection in Sussmann’s trial is slated to begin.

Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to compile a dossier on Donald Trump.
Fusion GPS hired former British spy Christopher Steele to compile a dossier on Donald Trump.
Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Sussmann is charged with lying to the FBI when he allegedly claimed to not be working “for any client” when he passed along since-debunked computer research that purportedly tied Trump’s 2016 campaign to Russia’s Alfa-Bank.

In reality, the special counsel alleges, he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

Fusion GPS hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile reports about Trump’s purported ties to Russia, including the since-debunked “Steele dossier” that included salacious claims about the candidate.



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