Federal prosecutors are considering bringing charges against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig and powerful D.C. law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom over their role in Paul Manafort’s Ukrainian lobbying scheme, CNN reported Friday afternoon, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The charges against Craig would relate to failure to register as a foreign agent, and prosecutors are considering making a civil settlement or deferred prosecution agreement with Skadden, according to CNN’s report. A spokesperson for Craig told CNN that he was not required to register as a foreign lobbyist.
News of the potential charges come the same day on which Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts related to his Ukrainian lobbying efforts. The firms Manafort employed to carry out lobbying efforts in the U.S. have so far escaped charges.
CNN reported last month that special counsel Robert Mueller referred Craig’s case to federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
Previous reporting has indicated that Craig was the lead lawyer overseeing a 2012 report on the prosecution and imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko, a political rival of Viktor Yanukovych, Manafort’s main client. In the statement of offense filed by prosecutors in Manafort’s case on Friday, Manafort admitted to directing a law firm (which reporting indicates is Skadden) to create a report that could be used to defend Tymoshenko’s trial.
Charges against Craig and Skadden would be significant, since the federal government has not historically brought many charges related to unreported foreign lobbying. It would also be a major blow to a power law firm and established DC powerbroker. Before serving as Obama’s White House counsel, Craig led the legal team defending former President Bill Clinton from impeachment.