Lawyer linked to Trump campaign sentenced in Russian Federation meddling probe

Posted April 04, 2018

A Dutch lawyer was sentenced to 30 days in prison Tuesday and slapped with a $20,000 fine for lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's never-ending Russian Federation probe; becoming the first person to face jail-time in the DOJ's months-long investigation into foreign meddling in the 2016 election.

In February Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to making false statements concerning his phone calls, and emails with Richard Gates, a former aide for the Trump campaign.

Gates, 45, was indicted by a federal grand jury in October on eight counts, including fraud and money laundering, as part of the special counsel's probe into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Van der Zwaan was fined $20,000 and sentenced to two months of supervised release.

His connection to the Russian Federation probe runs through Rick Gates, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's deputy.

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Russian Federation probe special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating a private consulting firm with ties to an adviser who frequently met with Jared Kushner in the early months of the Trump administration.

Van der Zwaan, who speaks French and Russian and graduated from King's College London in 2006, is married to the daughter of Russian billionaire German Khan.

He had pleaded guilty on February 20 as Mueller intensified his investigation into potential collusion between the president's campaign and Russian Federation.

Van der Zwaan's lawyers asked for no jail time, noting that his wife is pregnant. Van der Zwaan, according to prosecutors, helped Gates with public relations related to the Tymoshenko report. Prosecutors said the communication "was pertinent to the investigation".

In court papers, Mueller referred to the officer as "Person A", who reports later revealed was Konstantin Kilimnik, a Ukrainian business contact for Manafort and Gates.

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According to a two-page indictment released by the special counsel's office February 20, the Ukraine-connected attorney misled authorities about his most recent contact with Gates; deleted and failed to produce emails Mueller's team had requested; and misrepresented his involvement in an worldwide law firm's report on former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in 2012.

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 has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is seeking to have the case against him dismissed.

Manafort pleaded not guilty and faces a trial later this year. Gates has accepted a plea deal and is cooperating with prosecutors while Manafort is fighting the charges.

"This was lying during the course of a federal investigation", she added, noting that being able to "write a check and walk away" would not fit the seriousness of the crime or send the right message.

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.

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