A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan to 30 days in prison for lying to federal investigators, according to multiple reports, in the first criminal sentence to result from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation.
Van der Zwaan's attorney, William Jay Schwartz, asked the judge to impose only a fine and allow his client to leave the country, saying he had already been punished enough and should receive credit for returning to the United States past year after lying to Mueller's investigators to correct the record. That individual, identified only as "Person A" in the filings from Mueller's team, is believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Manafort's lobbying firm in Ukraine, according to Reuters. Manafort was President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
A Dutch lawyer was jailed after he admitted lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents handling special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged collusion between Donald Trump and Russian Federation.
Van der Zwaan's attorney, William Schwartz, sought to paint a sympathetic portrait of his client for the court, describing his time in the U.S.as "untethered", with no job, routine, or friends. CBS News' Paula Reid reports that Gates' plea offer says that his plea is contingent on his cooperation and testimony with the special counsel. "Because investigation of those matters was authorized, so was prosecution".
Prosecutors said van der Zwaan was lying, and that he spoke to Gates and Person A in September 2016 using encrypted communications - conversations that he recorded, including a separate conversation he had with Gregory Craig, a Skadden senior partner overseeing work involving Manafort.
None of the charges Manafort now faces alleges coordination with the Kremlin, and Manafort's attorneys had used that point to argue that Mueller had exceeded his authority by bringing charges against him accusing him of various financial crimes and acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Ukrainian interests. He faces tax and fraud charges in the second indictment, and conspiracy and money laundering in the first. Manafort is awaiting trial and Gates, who pleaded guilty to reduced charges, is cooperating with Mueller.
Alex van der Zwaan's sentence could set a guidepost for what other defendants charged with lying in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation may receive when their cases are resolved.
Prosecutors said when van der Zwaan was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in November, he told investigators Gates had informed him that Person A was a former officer of the Russian military intelligence service known as the GRU. Any investigation of links between Russia and the Trump campaign "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian-associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs", according to the 53-page filing in federal court in Washington.
President Trump has said that the charges against his former employees have no bearing on his campaign's work and repeatedly claims that "no collusion" occurred. Manafort has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing related to Russian election interference.