A Dutch lawyer just got handed the first jail sentence for lying to Special Counsel Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign’s election collusion to cover up contacts with Russia’s military intelligence service. (video below)
Alex van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of a Russian banking oligarch and disgraced former lawyer in the London branch of Skadden Arps, the 5th largest firm in the world, who communicated with convicted former Trump campaign deputy manager Rick Gates about ex-campaign chair Paul Manafort’s contacts with a former GRU officer. The GRU is Russia’s military intelligence agency, identified as behind both Democratic email hacking, and linked to Guccifer 2.0.
But the Dutch lawyer got caught lying to the Special Counsel in a voluntary interview and attempting to delete evidence of his conversations with Gates. The judge handed down a 30-day jail sentence along with a $20,000 fine, and van der Zwaan agreed to certain unusual restrictions to his rights to find out more about Mueller’s probe. NBC News reports: (video below)
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Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, “as [Alex van der Zwaan] came here knowing what the Special Counsel was interested in. He’d been practicing law in London. He’s a lawyer himself, he was represented by counsel, but he lied.”
“He knew how important the Special Counsel’s investigation was, he knew what he said was false, and the judge said that this was not something that happened to him, this is something that he did. He put his personal interests ahead of the interests of justice.”
Alex van der Zwaan covered up candid discussions with Trump’s top campaign staff that revealed they knew they were feeding information to a Russian intelligence contact during the election.
His plea agreement divulged the most direct link yet between the higher-ups in the Trump campaign and a conspiracy to collude with the Russian government to beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The judge could’ve easily sentenced him to a probationary sentence only, as even the defendant admitted that this criminal conviction has ruined his professional career, so he isn’t likely to repeat the offense anytime soon.
But prosecutors showed their bite by insisting on jail time, and the judge showed that the court can also give mercy to those who take a plea deal, by allowing the convicted attorney to return home for the birth of his first child.
Alex van der Zwaan’s sentencing is a shot across the bow of all of Trump’s remaining co-conspirators about the reach of the Special Counsel probe and the futility of hiding the truth from investigators who are questioning multiple sources about key information.
Even the farthest person in the campaign from Donald Trump himself will not find themselves safe from the reach of the law.
Watch NBC’s complete report here:
BREAKING: Judge sentences Alex van der Zwaan to 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine, @PeteWilliamsNBC reports.
He is the first to be sentenced in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation. pic.twitter.com/7VLQrqgu8F
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 3, 2018