Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann was acquitted by a jury on charges that he lied to the FBI about a possible link between the Trump Organization and a Kremlin-linked bank. The acquittal is a major setback in special counsel John Durham's investigation into the FBI's probe of alleged ties between Trump and Russia.
Prosecutors accused Sussmann of providing a tip to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in 2016 that the Trump Organization was running an illegal backchannel with Alfa Bank.
Sussmann sent Baker a text message asking to meet to provide "time-sensitive" information and claimed he was not working on behalf of Clinton's campaign.
"I'm coming on my own — not on behalf of a client or company — want to help the Bureau. Thanks," Sussmann wrote in a text message.
Prosecutors claimed that Sussmann was not acting on his own and wanted to "manipulate the FBI" to provide an "October surprise" that would doom the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
After spending months looking into the claim, the FBI determined there was "nothing there."
Durham issued a brief statement following the verdict.
"While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury's decision and thank them for their service," Durham said. "I also want to recognize and thank the investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case."