Jail Time for Attorney Alex van der Zwaan for Lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Jail Time for Attorney Alex van der Zwaan for Lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

"What I did was wrong", he said. "I apologize to this court, and I apologize to my wife", van der Zwaan said at the hearing.

The Dutch lawyer is now the first person to be sentenced as part of Mueller's investigation.

Van der Zwaan was hired by Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his deputy, Rick Gates, in an unrelated job to help launch a public-relations campaign aimed at improving the image of the now-ousted president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich.

The 33-year-old admitted to lying to federal agents earlier in February.

Mr Mueller has secured two indictments against Mr Manafort arising from his lobbying for the pro-Russian Ukrainian Party of Regions, with charges ranging from failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiring to launder money, to bank fraud and filing false tax returns.

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Van der Zwaan's apology and his lawyer's explanations for his client's actions appeared to ring hollow for the judge.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson also ordered van der Zwaan to pay a $20,000 fine and serve two months of supervised release.

He also is married to the daughter of billionaire German Khan who owns the Alfa Group, Russia's largest financial and industrial investment group. The attorneys pushed Jackson to allow van der Zwaan to return to London as soon as possible where he lives with his wife, who is going through a hard pregnancy. After his lies were called out, van der Zwaan began co-operating with investigators, including sharing recordings of his conversations with Gates, Person A, and with a senior Skadden partner.

Van der Zwaan awaited his sentencing for the last month while gripped with "boredom and anxiety" while living in a hotel, Schwartz said.

"It is a message that needs to be sent, particularly because you are an attorney", she said. A version of the memo filed in court showed that Rosenstein signed off on an investigation into whether Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials", as well as into Manafort's work as an global political consultant in Ukraine before joining Trump's campaign in 2016.

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Weissmann also said van der Zwaan's conduct demonstrated a "lack of morality", noting he also lied to his former employer and the US government.

It has now been close to a year since the Mueller special counsel commenced its investigation.

Van der Zwaan also deleted emails rather than turning them over to authorities, including one from Person A directing him to communicate using an encrypted application, and others showing he explored leaving the law firm to work directly for Gates and Manafort in about 2012 and 2013. "This is not an isolated instance of bad judgment or criminal conduct", prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said.

In a detailed, 53-page defense, Mueller's team countered late Monday that an investigation of possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia would "naturally cover ties" between the campaign's chairman and "Russian associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians and Russian oligarchs".

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