Arguments in the trial of Michael Sussmann have begun with prosecutors saying he hoped to create an “October surprise” in the race’s final weeks.
Mr. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
He is the first defendant to go on trial in an investigation into the FBI’s original probe to find if Donald Trump was conspiring with Russia.
The charges arise from a meeting between Mr. Sussmann, a cyber-security lawyer, and an FBI agent in 2016.
Mr. Sussmann introduced what he guaranteed was proof of dubious web traffic interfacing the Trump Organization to Russia’s Alfa Bank. The FBI investigated the claim and saw it as nothing dubious.
Examiners say Mr. Sussmann lied by not uncovering in the gathering that he was working for the Democrat’s lobby. The prosecution charges that he asserted not to address a specific client and that he introduced himself simply as a concerned resident.
A legal advisor for Mr. Sussmann condemned the preliminary as a “foul play” at Tuesday’s hearing in a Washington DC government town hall.
Mr. Sussmann is being charged by US Department of Justice Special Counsel John Durham, who was picked by the attorney general under President Trump in 2019 to investigate FBI misconduct in the original Trump-Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The Mueller inquiry concluded in 2019 that it could find no evidence of any criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, though it did determine Russia had sought to help Mr. Trump win.
President Trump generally said the Mueller request was one-sided against him.
In court on Tuesday, investigator Brittain Shaw contended that Mr. Sussmann had expected to drop a stunner in the last days of the November 2016 race.
“This case was about honor,” Ms. Shaw said, portraying the litigant as a “powerful DC legal advisor”.
Legal counselors for Mr. Sussmann referred to the public authority’s contention as “irrational”, contending that the FBI would have realized he had addressed the Democratic National Committee prior that year after their PC servers were hacked.
Also on Tuesday, prosecutors revealed what led the FBI to conclude that the evidence provided by Mr. Sussmann did not prove any Russian collusion.
The server at the Trump Organization uncovered by Mr. Sussmann “was merely a spam email server used for sending out marketing emails”, Ms. Shaw told the jury.
“The server did not reflect a crime, nor was it a threat to national security,” she added.
Two other people have been charged with crimes as part of Mr. Durham’s probe. One pleaded guilty in 2020 to altering evidence that was used to secure an FBI wiretap on Trump aide Carter Page.
In the other case, a Russian investigator has been accused of misleading the FBI about his sources.
However there is no proof that Mrs. Clinton herself coordinated the supposed Sussmann smear, political adversaries have poured disdain on her comments this month cautioning about the risks of disinformation and fear-inspired notions.