One of the prosecutors on special counsel John Durham’s team has withdrawn from the team’s upcoming case against a source for the anti-Trump dossier.
Durham asked the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia on Aug. 21 to “withdraw the appearance” of Andrew DeFilippis, an assistant special counsel, in the case against Igor Danchenko.
Durham referred comment to a spokesperson, who declined to comment on the development. DeFilippis did not return a query.
DeFilippis was one of the prosecutors in the trial of Michael Sussmann, the first trial stemming from Durham’s investigation. Jurors acquitted Sussmann in May of lying to the FBI.
DeFilippis had been involved in the case against Danchenko since shortly after Danchenko was indicted in November 2021.
Durham, a former U.S. attorney appointed as special counsel by former Attorney General William Barr, went to court each day for the Sussmann trial, but did not speak during the proceedings and declined to answer questions after the verdict was handed down.
Durham has signaled he will take a larger role in the case against Danchenko, who has been charged with five counts of lying to the FBI and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Durham was the lone prosecutor to speak in the most recent hearing, on Aug. 1, and soon after lodged a filing that indicated he will lead the prosecution. Several assistant prosecutors, including Michael Keilty, were present, but DeFilippis was not there.
Keilty and Jonathan Algor are holdovers from the Sussmann trial. Adam Small, who was at the August hearing, did not participate in that case.
The trial is slated to start on Oct. 11 and last five or six days.
Steele Dossier Source
Danchenko, a Russian national who once worked for the Brookings Institution, provided information to Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy who compiled the dossier about then-candidate Donald Trump while being paid by the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Danchenko falsely told the FBI that he never communicated with a person later identified as Charles Dolan, a longtime Clinton associate, according to charging documents and Dolan’s lawyer. Danchenko is also accused of lying when he said he spoke with a businessman named Sergei Millian and conveyed some of the information he received to Steele.
According to prosecutors, Danchenko “fabricated” a phone call with Millian, and made up purported plans to meet with Millian.
The lies were important because the FBI relied on the dossier to obtain spy warrants on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign associate, and because the FBI “devoted substantial resources” in trying to track down and interview Danchenko’s purported sub-sources, according to prosecutors.
Danchenko has pleaded not guilty.
Terri Wu contributed to this report.