Greg Craig Pleads Not Guilty to Lying About Foreign Lobbying

(Bloomberg) -- Gregory Craig, a former partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, pleaded not guilty to federal charges he made false statements to the government and concealed work he did for a pro-Russian Ukrainian regime.

Craig, 74, entered his plea through his lawyer Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson in Washington. In the same courthouse just hours earlier, W. Samuel Patten was sentenced to three years of probation in connection with illegal lobbying for the same Ukrainian political faction.

The charges against Craig, a former Obama White House counsel, arose from the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Craig, the first prominent Democrat charged in the investigation, remains free on his own recognizance. His next appearance was scheduled for April 15.

In a statement yesterday, Craig denied that he violated the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which had until recently been rarely used by prosecutors. His attorneys, in a separate statement, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan had already investigated the matter and declined to prosecute. Charges were filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington.

“This case is about whether I misled the Department of Justice to avoid having to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” Craig said in a video statement. “I did not.”

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