April 11 (UPI) -- A federal grand jury charged Gregory Craig, the White House counsel for President Barack Obama, with lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's team about his work in Ukraine, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
The prominent Democratic lawyer is accused of lying about what kind of work his law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, performed for the Ukrainian government in 2012 and 2013. The Justice Department said Craig lied about his work there to avoid having to register as a foreign agent.
He faces charges of making false statements and making misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act statements.
The Justice Department said the charges stem from interviews Craig took part in with Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich hired Craig's firm to provide a report justifying his imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a political rival.
Emails between members of the law firm indicated Craig was concerned about whether the lawyers would need to register under the FARA statute, according to the indictment.
"I don't want to register as a foreign agent under FARA," Craig allegedly wrote to a fellow partner. "I think we don't have to with this assignment, yes?"
This isn't the first FARA-related indictment to stem from the Mueller investigation. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty in September to, among other charges, serving as an unregistered foreign agent and giving false and misleading statements under the FARA statute. This was also related to his work in Ukraine.
In addition to serving under Obama, Craig was White House special counsel to President Bill Clinton during his Senate impeachment trial and helped defend John Hinckley after he shot President Ronald Reagan.