Lawyers for Gregory Craig, a former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner, denied on Tuesday that he disseminated to U.S. government officials a Skadden report commissioned by the government of Ukraine, rejecting that he was required to register as a foreign agent.
The attorneys’ statement appears to push back on recent press reports and court filings about Paul Manafort’s work with Skadden. The law firm was hired to write a 2012 report that evaluated the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, the political rival of one of Paul Manafort’s top clients, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Craig oversaw that controversial report.
Manafort himself pleaded guilty on Friday to two conspiracy counts, including for failing to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Federal prosecutors said last week in court filings in Manafort’s case that, as part of a lobbying campaign for the Ukrainian government, the report by the law firm was leaked to the press in the United States to influence reporting globally.
As part of that plan, prosecutors said, Manafort “arranged to have the law firm disseminate hard copies of the report to numerous government officials, including senior United States executive and legislative branch officials.”
But in a Tuesday statement to ALM, Craig’s lawyers, William Murphy and William Taylor, denied Craig shared the report with U.S. government officials.
“Mr. Craig never disseminated Skadden’s report on the Tymoshenko trial to U.S. government officials, and he did not discuss Skadden’s findings with officials in the Executive Branch or the Congress or their staffs. Moreover, Mr. Craig’s few media contacts about the report were not part of an effort to promote the report on behalf of a foreign government. As a result, he was not required to register under FARA,” said Murphy and Taylor, partners at Zuckerman Spaeder.
CNN reported Friday that federal prosecutors in New York are weighing potential criminal charges against Craig, a former White House counsel under President Barack Obama. The investigation was reportedly referred to federal prosecutors in New York earlier this year by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.