Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

First Person Sentenced In Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation

First Person Sentenced In Robert Mueller's Russia Investigation

Van der Zwaan had faced a maximum of five years in prison and a quarter-million-dollar fine for lying to investigators, though federal recommendations had put his likely sentence between zero and six months.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller told attorneys for U.S. President Donald Trump last month that while he is a subject of investigation, Mueller did not consider him a criminal target at that time.

"Van der Zwaan was charged by Mueller's team with making false statements to investigators in an interview about his time working for a law firm hired by the Ukraine Ministry of Justice in 2012, when he helped produce a report on the trail of Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko", writes Fox.

Alex van der Zwaan just became the first person sentenced in Robert Mueller's investigation.

The memo, which had not previously been released publicly and remains redacted in parts, said that Mueller was empowered to investigate allegations that Manafort "committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials" to interfere with the presidential election. "We do not discuss real or alleged conversations between our legal team and the Office of Special Counsel", said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president.

But on Monday, prosecutors filed a declassified memo revealing Mueller had been given the green light to investigate Manafort on multiple fronts.

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Prosecutors said van der Zwaan was lying, and that he spoke to Gates and Person A in September 2016 using encrypted communications - conversations that he recorded, including a separate conversation he had with Gregory Craig, a Skadden senior partner overseeing work involving Manafort. Mueller's office has said "Person A" has maintained ongoing ties to the Russian military intelligence service and had communicated with Gates and van der Zwaan during the 2016 presidential election.

He pleaded guilty on February 20 as Mr Mueller ramped up his investigation into potential collusion between Mr Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

A protester holds a sign as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (R) arrives at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse for an arraignment hearing on March 8, 2018 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Nevertheless, Trump has repeatedly expressed an eagerness to sit down for a voluntary interview to answer Mueller's questions - a move Dowd believed would be a mistake, according to a longtime Trump friend.

Prosecutors have charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities - including the Internet Research Agency, which USA officials said churned out social media posts to manipulate American public opinion during the 2016 campaign. Gates and Manafort worked closely with Yanukovych before he was removed from power in 2014. Manafort does not now face charges related to the 2016 presidential election or Russian interference. He faces tax and fraud charges in the second indictment, and conspiracy and money laundering in the first.

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