Trump official pressed federal prosecutors to announce indictment of major Dem lawyer before elections: book
Donald Trump appears during a rally Oct. 10, 2016, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (Matt Smith Photographer /

One of Donald Trump's allies reportedly pressured federal prosecutors to announce the indictments of a major Democratic lawyer in response to the prosecutions of two of the former president's loyalists.

Geoffrey Berman, who served two and a half years as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, published a new book, "Holding the Line," about his service under the former president, and an excerpt reported by the New York Times describes how a senior Justice Department official tried to arrange for a prosecution seemingly motivated by political considerations.

“It’s time for you guys to even things out,” said the official, according to Berman.

According to the book, that official called Berman's deputy in September 2018, two months before the November midterms, and asked for charges before Election Day against Democratic lawyer Gregory Craig in response to the recent prosecutions of Trump longtime attorney Michael Cohen and then-Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY).

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“Throughout my tenure as U.S. attorney, Trump’s Justice Department kept demanding that I use my office to aid them politically, and I kept declining — in ways just tactful enough to keep me from being fired," Berman wrote.

Federal prosecutors were investigating whether Craig, a White House counsel under Barack Obama, had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by doing work years earlier for Ukraine's government, but Berman said he believed the attorney was innocent and was unlikely to be convicted.

But Berman said his deputy Robert Khuzami came to his office and told him about a call he'd gotten from Edward O’Callaghan, the principal associate deputy attorney general, asking to charge Craig before Election Day, but Berman ignored the political appointee's order and decided in December not to prosecute him.

However, he soon learned the Justice Department had "peddled" the case to Washington's U.S. attorney, who eventually indicted Craig on a single count of making false statements -- but he was acquitted by a jury in September 2019 in less than five hours.

“The verdict felt like justice," Berman wrote. "Greg Craig should never have been prosecuted.”

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