In 2016, Simpson hired Edward Baumgartner, an ex-journalist who shares his disdain for Trump, to work on the Hillary contract. Baumgartner says he has a masters degree in Russian and specializes in consulting “in the former Soviet Union,” where he has offices.
Baumgartner had been working alongside Simpson as a Russian translator for a New York law firm defending a Russian holding company, Prevezon, in a money-laundering suit filed by the US Justice Department in Manhattan. Owned by Denis Katsyv, a Putin-tied oligarch, Prevezon was sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act. Also defending Prevezon was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who Simpson helped lobby Congress to repeal the Magnitsky Act by attacking William Browder, the banker-turned-human-rights-activist who championed it.
“He speaks Russian,” Simpson said of Baumgartner, after Senate Judiciary Committee staff asked about “subcontractors” he’d hired. “So he would work with the lawyers on gathering Russian language documents, gathering Russian language media reports, talking to witnesses who speak Russian, that sort of thing.” He added Baumgartner also has an “ability to interface with the court system in Russia.”