A federal jury has acquitted Russian analyst Igor Danchenko of lying to the FBI during its investigation of connections between Russia and former President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. File photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A federal jury has acquitted Russian analyst Igor Danchenko of four counts of lying to the FBI during its investigation of connections between Russia and former President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Danchenko, 44, who was considered the primary source of the so-called "Steele Dossier," was found not guilty on Tuesday after the jury deliberated for more than 10 hours and announced its verdict in an Alexandria, Va., courtroom.
Danchenko's acquittal is expected to be the final blow to special counsel John Durham's three-year investigation into conspiracy theories of how the FBI conducted its own investigation into the dossier, which was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Danchenko contributed some of the information to the dossier, which was later used by the FBI to secure warrants to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The indictment charged Danchenko with five counts of lying to the FBI during interviews in 2017 about where he got information included in the dossier. Steele hired Danchenko to gather information on Trump from people he knew in Russia.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga dismissed one of the charges after the government and the defense rested their cases on Friday, saying Danchenko's statement to the FBI about his contacts with a Democratic operative "was literally true."
Most of the claims in the Steele Dossier have been either refuted or unproven.
"We've known all along that Mr. Danchenko was innocent. We're happy now that the American public knows that as well. And we thank these jurors for their hard work and deliberation and reaching the right result," Danchenko's attorney Stuart Sears said in remarks outside the courthouse Tuesday.
"While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury's decision and thank them for their service," Durham said in a statement after the verdict. "I also want to recognize and thank investigators and the prosecution team for their dedicated efforts in seeking truth and justice in this case."
Durham's probe lost another court battle against Trump's nemeses earlier this year, when a federal jury found Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann not guilty on a charge of lying to the FBI about allegations against Trump.
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith also avoided prison time and was sentenced to probation last year after pleading guilty to altering an internal FBI email supporting the government surveillance of Page.