Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Judge sentences Dutch lawyer to 30 days in Mueller probe

President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington to board Marine One President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington to board Marine One
Judith Alexander | 04 April, 2018, 01:48

"I apologize to the court, my wife, and my family". The attorneys also pushed Jackson to allow van der Zwaan to return to London as soon as possible where he lives with his wife, who is pregnant with their first child.

Alex van der Zwaan was served with a 30-day jail sentence on Tuesday along with a $20,000 fine after admitting to lying to special agents in Mueller's Russian Federation probe during November 2017.

Van der Zwaan will also have to undergo two months of supervised release after he serves his prison term.

Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who once worked closely with Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former deputy chairman Rick Gates, became the first person to be sentenced in Mueller's ongoing probe, which has hung over Trump's presidency.

Alex van der Zwaan, 33, a son-in-law of a prominent Russian-based banker, pleaded guilty February 20 to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts in September and October of 2016 with a business associate of onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and with Manafort's deputy, former Trump aide Rick Gates.

While Van der Zwaan's lawyers hoped to settle the case with a fine and an immediate expulsion from the US, District Judge Amy Burman deemed the incarceration more fitting so as to deter others from lying in investigations of such importance.

"This was more than a mistake".

ABC News reported that Ukraine-based Konstantin Kilimnik is the associate with whom van der Zwaan and Gates met, although he denies it. Kilimnik worked with Manafort a year ago to improve the latter's image in Ukraine, which violated a court-imposed gag order.

Van der Zwaan covered up his discussions with Gates and a business associate based in Ukraine in September 2016, while the Trump campaign operation was in full swing.

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In February, Mueller announced that van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of a Ukrainian-Russian oligarch, had lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mueller indicted van der Zwaan for making false statements of FBI investigators.

Berman Jackson concluded, however, that "the expressions of remorse here by the defendant. have been somewhat muted to say the least".

Last October, Mueller charged both Gates and Manafort with multiple criminal counts, including money laundering, relating to their work in Ukraine. Five people have pleaded guilty to various charges Mueller has brought, three of whom have direct ties to the Trump campaign.

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. Mr Manafort has pleaded not guilty. But the defense's attempts to paint him as a tragic figure didn't ring true, she said.

She also declined to offer sympathy to van der Zwann after his lawyers said he has been bored in a D.C. -area hotel for months with nothing to do but converse with attorneys.

Trump has called Mueller's investigation a witch hunt and has denied collusion with Moscow.

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