US prosecutor on Durham probe joins law firm Kasowitz Benson

(Reuters) – Law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres said Monday that it has hired Jonathan Algor, a prosecutor formerly assigned to US Special Counsel John Durham’s probe into the FBI’s 2016 investigation of possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

Algor, who also worked as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, will be a partner in New York focused on white-collar defense and commercial and international litigation.

He said he joined the firm, which has represented Trump and his company, because of its expertise in white-collar work and its growing focus on cross-border investigations and regulatory enforcement.

While working for Durham’s team, Algor worked on the case against former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and was accused of lying to the FBI about his affiliations when he shared a tip about a possible connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian-based bank. Sussmann was found not guilty last year.

Durham’s investigation, which began during the Trump administration, faced criticism after its only two cases to go to trial, both on narrow charges of lying to the FBI, ended in acquisitions. Durham’s office is expected to complete a written report before wrapping up the investigation.

Algor defended the investigation and said the criticism was “natural” for high-profile probes that touched on political issues.

“You have to look at the team that’s formed and how they go about doing the investigation,” Algor said. “I think we followed what we believed to be the right course in our investigation and in our charging decisions.”

Algor is a US Army veteran and two-time recipient of the Bronze Star Medal. He worked on investigations involving terrorism, cybercrime, foreign counterintelligence and money laundering during his tenure as a federal prosecutor, the firm said.

Prior to joining the government, Algor worked at law firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Kobre & Kim, where he worked with Robin Rathmell and Jason Short, now heads of Kasowitz Benson’s international practice.

Kasowitz Benson is known for its commercial litigation work and its ties to Trump. The firm has represented the Trump Organization in litigation and recently advised Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner in interviews with the US House committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol.

Algor is the second member of Durham’s team to join a major law firm in New York in recent months. Andrew DeFilippis, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan who led the Sussmann prosecution, joined Sullivan & Cromwell last year.

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