May 17, 2022

First man just went to prison in Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe

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The first prison sentence in Special Counsel Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference just got underway.


Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer, reported to federal prison today to begin his sentence for perjury.

Van der Zwaan is a Dutch national who is married to Russian oligarch German Khan’s daughter.  He’s also a lawyer at internationally renowned law firm Skadden Arps, where he worked on a report for the government of Ukraine while Paul Manafort’s pro-Kremlin clients ran the country.

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Mueller’s prosecutors questioned Van Der Zwaan about about his contacts with Manafort and his now-flipped assistant, Rick Gates, during the campaign – and caught him in a series of lies.

Van der Zwaan got Mueller’s first jail sentence for covering up discussions with Gates about his and Manafort’s communications with the spy Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the men believed was linked to Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

Now, he’s in jail according to Politico:

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A Dutch attorney now has the dubious distinction of being the first person imprisoned in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Alex van der Zwaan, 33, reported to a low-security Federal Bureau of Prisons facility near Allenwood, Pennsylvania, on Monday to serve the 30-day sentence he received for lying to investigators in the course of Mueller’s investigation, according to a bureau spokesperson.

His projected release date is June 4, according to information on the prison bureau’s website.

Technically, Alex van der Zwaan could’ve been indicted for obstruction of justice for deleting emails that Mueller’s team requested about his chats with Gates.

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But in the plea deal he struck without cooperation, Van der Zwaan got 30 days at a federal penitentiary, rather than the maximum of five years.  This dramatic reduction came because he’s a total momma’s boy.  He pleaded for his freedom before the judge by citing the upcoming birth of his first child as the primary reason why he deserved leniency.

Judge Jackson took pity on the son-in-law of a Russian oligarch and gave him permission to serve his post-release probationary time overseas.

But it is unknown if Van der Zwaan will make it back in time for his child’s birth because Trump’s cruel immigration service might detain and deport him from jail before he can be released, which could take months.

Special Counsel Mueller’s prosecutors wanted to send a message by incarcerating Alex van der Zwaan for deleting the emails his firm was subpoenaed to produce, in addition to his lies to investigators.

While this is the first Trump-Russia probe prison sentence has begun, from the looks of things it will most certainly not be the last.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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