A top prosecutor for Special Counsel John Durham has abruptly withdrawn from the criminal case against Igor Danchenko, who was a source for the debunked anti-Trump Steele Dossier.
The news comes just two months before Danchenko’s trial is scheduled to start on October 16.
According to a filing late on Sunday by Durham, assistant special counsel Andrew DeFilippis withdrew from the case.
The filing did not say why DeFilippis suddenly withdrew from this case and the Justice Department is not talking.
DeFilippis oversaw the failed prosecution of former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who was charged with lying to the FBI but acquitted in court.
He was also a key prosecutor in Durham’s case against Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to falsifying evidence for a FISA warrant that allowed the bogus continued surveillance of Carter Page.
Page was an adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign but did work for Trump’s administration.
USA v. DANCHENKO
Looks like Assistant Special Counsel Andrew DeFilippis is being taken off this case.
A good reason for that would be: he’s moving to new case.
A bad reason for that would be: he’s been fired by Durham.
I’ll assume the former until I see evidence of latter. pic.twitter.com/tyoxkJyEix
— Just Human (@Jo_Kyle) August 22, 2022
New: Top Durham prosecutor withdraws from case against Steele dossier source
Andrew DeFilippis, an assistant special counsel, played a prominent role in the Danchenko case, which they lost…https://t.co/BO30JO12cC – from @JerryDunleavy for @dcexaminer
— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) August 22, 2022
According to The Washington Examiner:
The status conference minutes filed with the court said the “counsel for government” included Michael Keilty, who also assisted with the Sussmann case, and Adam Small, who appeared to be a new addition to the team this month.
DeFilippis was not with the special counsel team at the Alexandria courthouse where the trial will be held.
The October trial against Danchenko comes after Sussmann was found not guilty in May, a blow to Durham’s investigation.
Sussmann had been charged with allegedly concealing two clients — technology executive Rodney Joffe and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — from FBI General Counsel James Baker when Sussmann pushed debunked allegations of a secret line of communication between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank.
DeFilippis was the most prominent prosecutor in the Sussmann case, including doing the questioning of the government’s main witness — Baker — as well as grilling Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias, who in 2016 had hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Steele to pen and push his anti-Trump dossier.
DeFilippis also delivered the ultimately unsuccessful closing arguments for Durham’s team at the end of the trial in May.