WASHINGTON—12 jurors and four alternates were chosen on May 16 in the trial of Michael Sussmann, the former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer who is accused of lying to the FBI.
The jurors were sworn in, setting the stage for opening arguments on Tuesday in the trial of Sussmann, who authorities said lied to former FBI counsel James Baker.
Sussmann brought unsubstantiated information ahead of the 2016 election, claiming a secret link between Donald Trump’s business and a Russian bank. At the time, Clinton and Trump were rivals for the presidency.
Sussmann said in a text message sent ahead of the meeting that he wasn’t bringing the information on behalf of a client, according to special counsel John Durham’s team, which is prosecuting the case.
A number of potential jurors were struck by the parties involved in the case.
Prosecutors, for instance, objected to a Virginia Tech program coordinator who had attended the same school as Clinton. Lawyers for Sussmann, meanwhile, took issue with an accountant whose firm did the taxes for Baker.
In jury selection, both the prosecution and defense can strike a number of jurors.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper, an Obama appointee overseeing the case, also dismissed a potential juror.
Including the man, a mortician, would cause a hardship for his business, Cooper said.
Cooper, Michael Keilty with Durham’s team, and Sean Berkowitz, one of Sussmann’s attorneys, asked the same questions of all potential jurors.
Among them were whether they had “strong feelings” about the 2016 presidential election, reminding them that the Clinton campaign isn’t on trial in this case; and their views on the CIA and law enforcement, including the FBI.
Several acknowledged having friends or family in the FBI and CIA. They advanced to the final juror pool.
People responding to jury notices were told the trial may last more than two weeks and asked to answer a range of questions, including whether they voted in the 2016 election, whether they worked for or volunteered for a 2016 campaign, whether they currently attend religious services, how often they use social media, and whether they’ve had any contact with Durham or members of his team.
This is the third case stemming from Durham’s investigation of the U.S. government’s counterintelligence probe into Trump and Russia. The first ended with a guilty plea and no jail time for Kevin Clinesmith, an FBI lawyer who admitted to doctoring an email that stated Trump campaign associate Carter Page was a CIA asset to declare that he wasn’t. The second, against Igor Danchenko, a man authorities say was a key source for the dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele—the work was funded in part by the Clinton campaign—is set to go to trial later this year.