Cybersecurity attorney Michael Sussmann, cleared of perjury charges against him last year, has joined the cybersecurity and privacy practice at U.S. legal firm Fenwick & West, the company said on Monday.
After leaving Perkins Coie in 2021 after being indicted by U.S. Special Counsel John Durham, Sussmann is practicing law again.
At a meeting with the FBI general counsel in September 2016 (James Baker), Sussmann allegedly relayed suspicions regarding internet data reportedly tying the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank and was subsequently indicted for lying about who he was representing. The FBI eventually determined there was no basis for the claims.
According to Fenwick & West, he will assist customers in responding to state-sponsored cyberattacks, data breaches, and government inquiries.
Sussmann said in a press release that he was drawn to join Fenwick & West because of the firm’s history of representing “some of the largest worldwide innovators.”
Durham, whose investigation into alleged misconduct by the FBI (whose probe of relationships between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Kremlin is ongoing) claims that Sussmann falsely claimed not to be representing any client during the meeting, even though he was working for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and other cybersecurity clients.
Sussmann rejected the charges, and in May 2022, a jury in Washington declared him not guilty.
Before becoming a cybersecurity partner at Perkins Coie, Sussmann served as a federal prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Branch.
Partners at large legal firms are seldom charged with crimes, and it is much less common for such companies to engage someone previously convicted of a crime.
Sussmann, while at Perkins Coie, fought on Twitter Inc’s behalf when the US government demanded access to users’ private information.
He assisted the Democratic National Committee in 2016 in responding to cyberattacks, which the US government has blamed on Russian government-affiliated hackers. The FBI meeting, according to his attorneys, was driven by concerns for U.S. national security, but he also represented the Clinton campaign to disseminate claims about potential Trump-Russia links to media outlets.