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Stuart Sears and Danny Onorato Win Jury Acquittal in False Statements Prosecution Brought by Special Counsel John Durham in the Eastern District of Virginia


On October 18, 2022, Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears partners Stuart Sears and Danny Onorato obtained a jury acquittal of Igor Danchenko in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Special Counsel John Durham brought the prosecution, which charged Mr. Danchenko with five counts of making false statements to the FBI about his sources for certain information that appeared in the so-called “Steele dossier.” At the close of the prosecution’s case, United States District Court Judge Anthony Trenga granted the defense motion for judgment of acquittal on one count. After nine hours of deliberations, the jury acquitted Mr. Danchenko of all the remaining counts. Commenting on the verdict, Mr. Sears stated, “We have known all along that Igor Danchenko was innocent and we are glad the American public knows that now too.” Mr. Sears and Mr. Onorato were assisted at trial by SOM&S paralegals Charlie Brogdon-Tent, Grace McMahon, and Matt Milzman.

The trial and verdict received widespread national press coverage, including the following:

Russian Analyst for Trump Dossier Acquitted of Lying to the FBI – The New York Times (

Jury Begins Deliberating in Trial of Analyst Who Gathered Steele Dossier Claims – The New York Times (

Steele dossier source acquitted, in loss for special counsel Durham – The Washington Post

Durham says Steele dossier source lied. But the FBI long valued him. – The Washington Post

Igor Danchenko Acquitted of Lying to FBI About Trump-Russia Dossier – WSJ

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