Russian lawyer at Trump Tower meeting charged in separate case

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks during an interview in Moscow Russia

Federal prosecutors in NY charged Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya on December 20, with obstruction of justice for her role in defending a money laundering case in the United States. She had previously attended the infamous meeting at Trump Tower in 2016, along with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort.

While Veselnitskaya's alleged role in drafting the response itself is not charged as a violation of law, prosecutors say she lied in a November 2015 declaration that she filed in the case by citing the Russian legal assistance reply without disclosing her own involvement in its creation.

Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig broke down the ramifications of the revelations, pursued by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office.

The indictment does not say where the evidence of email exchanges between Veselnitskaya and the unnamed Russian prosecutor came from.

You can read the indictment for yourself here.

While Vesenitskaya has long proclaimed she is innocent and not a representative of the Russian government, the indictment argues she has worked closely with senior Russian officials for years.

During the 2016 campaign for president, Veselnitskaya arranged a meeting with representatives of the Trump campaign by claiming to have "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

Magnitsky was arrested in Russian Federation and died in custody.

Veselnitskaya, an attorney based in Russian Federation, was retained to assist the defendants. In the wake of his death, the US passed a law in his name that brought sanctions against Russian oligarchs suspected of money laundering.

'The Crown prosecutor of Russian Federation met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russian Federation and would be very useful to your father, ' according to the email.

This report, submitted by Russian Federation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the U.S., was then cited by Veselnitskaya in defending the real estate company Prevezon Holdings Ltd. from claims of money laundering by "Investment Company-1". Attendees at the meeting later said that she had talked about adoptions, which Russian Federation restricted for Americans as retribution for the Magnitsky Act, and requested that sanctions be lifted.

Prevezon settled the civil case in 2017 but balked at a negotiated payment.

A source close to Veselnitskaya told Foreign Policy that the Russian attorney "saw no difference between her client and the Russian government".

In 2007 and 2008, Magnitsky uncovered an alleged vast corruption scheme involving about $230 million, according to a federal indictment by the U.S. Southern District of NY in 2013.

Russian prosecutors accuse Magnitsky of participating in the largest tax fraud in Russian history worth $200 million.

It is not unusual for USA prosecutors to reach out in good faith to their counterparts in other countries to request information when working on transnational cases.

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