A Russian lawyer who became a focal point of the investigation into whether there was collusion between Russians and President Donald Trump's election campaign was charged with obstruction of justice Tuesday in an unrelated case in NY. The Justice Department believes that she has deep ties to senior Russian government officials in Moscow.
The indictment accuses Veselnitskaya of secretly collaborating on the drafting of a legal assistance response USA prosecutors sought from the Russian government as part of the Prevezon case.
While Veselnitskaya's alleged role in drafting the response itself is not charged as a violation of law, prosecutors say she lied in a November 2015 declaration that she filed in the case by citing the Russian legal assistance reply without disclosing her own involvement in its creation.
Federal prosecutors in NY said they were not aware of any defense attorney retained by Veselnitskaya, and ABC News requests for comment from her Russian office were not immediately returned.
The charges allege she obstructed justice in an unrelated civil case relating to money laundering and forfeiture of assets.
Veselnitskaya was also working with another entity involved in the Trump-Russia saga on the Prevezon case - Fusion GPS, a D.C. -based private intelligence firm that gained notoriety for commissioning the Steele dossier.
The scheme was exposed by crusading lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested by Russian authorities and died in prison in 2009 after he was allegedly denied adequate care for severe health conditions. Trump's team of aides in the meeting appeared to be baffled by her focus on this, instead of the promised dirt on Clinton, according to testimony released by the Senate Judiciary Committee about the meeting.
The case is unrelated to the now-infamous 2016 meeting, in which Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. In the case, the government sought to prove that Veselnitskaya's clients had received and laundered a portion of the proceeds of a Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials. Magnitsky - the namesake for the US law - died in Russian prison after reportedly investigating tax fraud that affected a company belonging to financier William Browder. However, the Democrats accused Trump's team of coordinating the presidential campaign with Russian Federation, claiming that Veselnitskaya was a Kremlin lawyer. It also accused Magnitsky himself of committing the Russian Treasury Fraud, when as the feds outline he reported it. Yet, the USA government pushed back on that characterization.
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Vice Premier Liu He made an appearance at the talks on Monday in a sign the Chinese were also pushing for a positive outcome. Over the past two days, talks have been under way between the United States and China to find a way to end the conflict.