Lawyer Gets Prison in First Sentence Handed Down 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

04 April, 2018

Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, has pleaded not guilty to two sets of federal charges, and prosecutors revealed they could investigate allegations that he colluded with Russians to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. His lawyer argued van der Zwann deserved leniency for eventually coming clean about the wrongdoing - but U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was unmoved.

"What I did was wrong". "I apologize to the court for my conduct".

Mr 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 a year ago after lying to Mr Mueller's investigators to correct the record.

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

Manafort, who filed not guilty pleas for charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and making false claims about his foreign lobbying, has sought to dismiss the indictments against him by claiming the prosecution overstepped its authority.

Van der Zwann had faced between zero and six months in prison under sentencing guidelines.

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Mueller's team questioned van der Zwaan last November during its investigation into Manafort and Gates, according to Newsweek. His work seemed to focus on the former Soviet Union. A Deripaska spokeswoman has said the billionaire, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was not offered and did not receive briefings.

Prosecutors have alleged that Manafort and Gates used an offshore account to secretly pay $4 million for the report.

The judge added that she was disappointed he did not write a letter to the court on his own behalf to express remorse, and said it would not deter others if she merely let him "write a check and walk away".

This was a big deal in Ukraine, but a relatively obscure issue for most of the rest of the world. He admitted to misleading Mueller's prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his discussions with Rick Gates, Trump's former deputy campaign chairman. Van der Zwaan turned over secret recordings to Mueller's investigators that he had made of his conversations with Gates, the associate, and a senior partner at his law firm.

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

Van der Zwaan told them that his last communication with Gates was in August 2016 and was an "innocuous text message", and that he hadn't spoken to Person A since 2014. Van der Zwaan later returned to the special counsel's office on December 1 to "correct the record", his lawyers wrote. But this sentencing has nothing to do with Trump, the 2016 election, or Russian Federation.

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