Greg Craig was acquitted Wednesday of a charge he deliberately deceived the Justice Department about his past work for Ukraine, bringing a dramatic end to a criminal case that spun out of the special counsel’s Russia investigation and ensnared a venerated Washington lawyer who served as President Barack Obama’s first White House counsel.
The verdict from a jury of nine men and three women came after nearly five hours of deliberations and capped a three-week trial that gripped the legal community and the K Street lobbying corps. The acquittal also represented a setback for the Justice Department as it steps up enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, a decades-old law requiring the disclosure of lobbying, public relations work and other influence efforts for foreign governments. Although Craig was not charged with violating FARA, prosecutors alleged that he misled the Justice Department about his past work for Ukraine to avoid the perceived stigma of registering as a foreign agent, so the 1938 law figured prominently in the case.
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