The Judge demands that the author of the anti-Trump dossier justify his need for confidential documents for his defense
Igor Danchenko, a significant source for the infamous anti-Trump dossier, was asked by a federal judge on Tuesday to justify his desire to use secret information in his defense during his impending criminal trial.
U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga instructed Mr. Danchenko one week to explain whether he still plans to utilize any secret information at trial “and why such information is important, relevant, and admissible” in a two-page order.
According to the ruling, Mr. Danchenko has until September 20 to explain why he intends to utilize secret papers in his defense. Mr. Danchenko’s proposal is due a response from the government on September 27.
Mid-October is when Mr. Danchenko’s criminal trial for lying to the FBI is set to begin.
He is accused of repeatedly lying to the FBI about the methods he used to gather information for the sleazy and unverified dossier written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, which contained now-disproven allegations linking former president Donald Trump to Russia.
He entered a not-guilty plea to the accusations.
Using sensitive material in Mr. Danchenko’s defense has been rejected by special prosecutor John Durham. It’s unknown why his legal team objects to the legal plan because they filed their objections under seal.
Mr. Danchenko signaled in a request he filed earlier this month that he intended to use secret material in his defense. Additionally, submitted under secrecy, that motion had no additional information regarding how the papers would support the case being made by the defense lawyers.
According to a court filing from May, the government has already given Mr. Danchenko’s counsel 61,000 unclassified documents and 5,000 secret documents.
The information Mr. Danchenko obtained for the dossier, according to the prosecution, was based on exaggerations, rumors, and plain lies. The indictment implies that Mr. Danchenko misled Mr. Steele regarding his source of information.
When he denied in a 2017 interview that Charles H. Dolan Jr., a former assistant to Hillary Clinton, was his main source for a section of the dossier, Mr. Danchenko is accused of purposefully misleading the FBI. The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Mrs. Clinton, was defeated by Mr. Trump.
The use and production of secret materials has been a point of contention for both parties all summer.
Attorneys representing Mr. Danchenko accused Mr. Durham’s group of dragging their feet in producing sensitive records in May. In response, Mr. Durham asserted that his team’s request for documents was being held up by the FBI and other American intelligence organizations.
Mr. Durham claimed that “recent world events,” apparently referring to Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, have prevented the FBI and other intelligence agencies from quickly declassifying some of the materials.