Lawyer sentenced to prison for lying to special counsel investigators

A Dutch attorney accused of lying to federal law enforcement about his work with two indicted, former leaders of Donald Trump's presidential campaign is expected to become the first person today to be sentenced as part of the 11-month-old special counsel investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.

Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty in February to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with Trump campaign official Rick Gates and that Gates had spoken with an unidentified individual.

The description of "Person A" in court records matches Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Manafort's consulting firm in Ukraine.

The judge said van der Zwaan, unlike some defendants who have come before her, possesses the financial and emotional resources to weather hard times.

Van der Zwaan was the fourth guilty plea in the Mueller investigation after Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators previous year and agreed to cooperate, and an online supplier of fake usernames pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February.

Van Der Zwaan's precise value to the Mueller investigation remains unclear. He resigned in August 2016 amid news reports about his activities in Ukraine. Van Der Zwaan deleted and failed to produce emails sought by the special counsel and a law firm, prosecutors said.

A court filing Monday night revealed an August 2 memo that showed the Department of Justice's backing authorized Mueller to go after Manafort for allegedly working with Russian Federation to interfere in the election "in violation of United States law". Gates is now cooperating with Mueller.

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Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said the sentence would include four months already served and a fine of 5,000 shekels (£1,017). Lasky said the jail term included the time Tamimi has spent in detention since her arrest in December.

Alex van der Zwaan.

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.

His attorneys asked for a lenient sentence so van der Zwaan could be with his wife during a hard pregnancy, and Mueller's team offered no recommendations on a sentence.

Mr Gates and Mr Manafort have been hit with a number of charges, including conspiracy to launder money and acting as "unregistered agents" of Mr Yanukovych and his party.

None of the charges so far directly relate to the issue of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Manafort has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing related to Russian election interference.

Van der Zwaan worked closely with Manafort and Gates in 2012, before their involvement in the Trump campaign, when they were serving as political consultants for Ukraine's former pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych on a report about former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

  • Megan Austin