U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Subpoena withdrawn for former NYT reporter in trial of Clinton campaign lawyer

Incident Details

April 1, 2022

As part of a trial involving a former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer, a subpoena demanding testimony from a former New York Times reporter was submitted in April 2022 then withdrawn on May 24, legal counsel for the Times confirmed to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in an email.

According to the Times, the subpoena called for Eric Lichtblau to testify in the trial of Michael Sussmann, who was charged with making false statements to the FBI in 2016 in his role as a Clinton campaign attorney.

Prosecutors say that Sussmann met with former FBI General Counsel James Baker and shared information about data that allegedly linked the Trump Organization to Alfa Bank, a Russian bank affiliated with the Kremlin.

Prosecutors say Sussmann wanted to prompt an FBI investigation into the connection so that journalists could report on it. Sussmann’s defense team says he approached the FBI to notify them that an article was already underway.

Lichtblau, then a reporter for the Times, co-authored an article in October 2013, six weeks after Sussmann met with the FBI, noting that officials had not been able to confirm a clear link between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.

Fox News reported that before the defense lawyers withdrew the subpoena, Lichtblau had initially agreed to testify during the trial but then filed a protective order to limit testimony to only interactions between him and Sussmann and bar any questions about other sources.

According to the Times, Lichtblau’s testimony could have “shed light on what he told Mr. Sussmann regarding how soon an article might be published before he sought the F.B.I. meeting.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]