Dutch lawyer sentenced to 30 days in prison in Russia probe

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Attorney Alex van der Zwaan leaves U.S District Court after pleading guilty during a scheduled appearance February 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. Van der Zwaan has been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team with making false statements during their investigation into Russian election interference. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Dutch attorney who lied to federal agents investigating former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in prison in the first punishment handed down in special counsel’s Russia investigation. He was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

Alex van der Zwaan’s sentence could set a guidepost for what other defendants charged with lying in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation may receive when their cases are resolved. Among them are a former White House national security adviser and a Trump campaign foreign policy aide.

Van der Zwaan had faced zero to six months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, and his attorneys had pushed for him to pay a fine and leave the country. But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing the need to deter others from lying in an investigation of international importance, said incarceration was necessary.

The criminal case against van der Zwaan is not directly related to Russian election interference, the main focus of Mueller’s probe. But it has revealed new details about the government’s case against Manafort as well as previously undisclosed connections between senior Trump campaign aides, including Rick Gates, and Russia. The allegations have also opened a window into the intersecting universes of international law, foreign consulting work and politics.

Van der Zwaan admitted in February to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Gates and a person prosecutors have since revealed has been assessed to have ties to Russian intelligence. Though prosecutors did not take a position on whether he should be locked up, they stressed that he had lied “repeatedly” to investigators.

Van der Zwaan’s attorneys argued that he had suffered enough already, saying his life had already been destroyed by his “terrible decision” to lie to federal authorities. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.