Ex-prosecutor says Sondland may face perjury charges – even if Barr doesn’t bring them

December 1, 2019

Trouble may be on the horizon for some of the witnesses who have provided testimony in the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

A former U.S. prosecutor and law professor at the University of Alabama told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Saturday that Gordon Sondland and other impeachment witnesses who some believe committed perjury could face criminal prosecution and even prison time — and there’s nothing Attorney General William “Bill” Barr would be able to do to stop it.

“Lying to Congress is a crime, right?”

At issue is Sondland’s testimony before Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) House Intelligence panel, where the U.S. ambassador to the European Union (EU) reportedly changed his story multiple times, “leading to accusations of perjury,” according to the Inquisitr. Indeed, Sondland has gone back and forth about whether there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The Hill noted.

“Lying to Congress is a crime, right?” host Joy Reid asked on Saturday’s edition of MSNBC’s AM Joy. “If [Sondland] went in there and wasn’t honest, couldn’t he be charged with a crime? Not that we necessarily trust that William Barr’s Justice Department would do anything about it.”

In response, MSNBC contributor and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Joyce Vance, said it’s possible, “if, in fact, [Sondland] committed perjury.”

“You have to have very clear evidence, and Sondland almost set himself up to have an imperfect memory defense here, saying that he wasn’t permitted access to his records,” Vance said.

The ambassador has indeed made it a point to emphasize in his testimony that his memory is not perfect, and he has issued addendums to his remarks clarifying things that he previously didn’t recall, according to Vox.

“They’re gambling”

But Sondland isn’t out of the water yet, according to Vance. “Something that Sondland and others need to remember is whatever William Barr’s Justice Department is up to, the statute of limitations for lying to Congress runs for five years,” the prosecutor said.

She went on: “They’re gambling on whether there might be a different Justice Department after the elections in 2020, and if so, whether or not people who deliberately surrounded Trump with a cover-up for his activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, whether they might not be finally be facing justice.”

Other guests on the show went on to suggest that Barr himself should at least face an “impeachment inquiry,” if not be forced out altogether, “because there’s so much smoke around him around these issues,” according to MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley.

Of course, the idea that the U.S. Justice Department is covering-up for Trump is pure nonsense — but perhaps even more fantastical is the idea that Democrats have any shot in 2020.

Indeed, Trump’s Justice Department isn’t going anywhere, so the Dems will have to hold off on this witch hunt — at least for now.

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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut.