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Dutch Lawyer Receives 30-Day Jail Sentence For Lying To Mueller

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan was fined $20,000 and sentenced to 30 days in jail on Tuesday for lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators and the FBI.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down the sentence in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The 33-year-old van der Zwaan is the first person to be sentenced in the Mueller probe, which began last May.

Van der Zwaan, who is based in London, faced up to six months in jail and a $9,500 fine for lying to the FBI about his contacts in September 2016 with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates and a former Russian military intelligence officer. (RELATED: Mueller Charges Dutch Lawyer With Lying About Contacts With Manafort Associate)

He pleaded guilty to the charges on Feb. 20.

At the time of his contacts with Gates and the former Russian spy, van der Zwaan worked as a lawyer for the international law firm, Skadden Arps. Gates and his business partner at the time, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, hired Skadden Arps in 2012 to provide a report regarding a criminal trial for Yulia Tymoshenko, a Ukrainian politician who was a rival of Manafort and Gates’ client, then-Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Gates and Manafort were indicted by Mueller in October on a series of money laundering and fraud charges related to their Ukraine work. Gates has accepted a plea deal and is cooperating with prosecutors while Manafort is fighting the charges.

During a Nov. 3 interview with Mueller’s investigators, van der Zwaan claimed that he last spoke to Gates in August 2016 and to the former Russian spy in 2014.

But van der Zwaan admitted to lying about those contacts during a Dec. 1 interview with Mueller’s team. He claimed that he lied because he had actually recorded the conversations with Gates and a Skadden Arps partner and did not want those facts to come to light.

Van der Zwaan submitted a memo in March asking a federal judge to hand down a suspended sentence. He argued that his guilty plea has been punishment enough because it will prohibit him from practicing law in the U.K. Van der Zwaan also said that his wife is expecting their first child in August.

Mueller’s prosecutors countered, asserting that van der Zwaan would be out of jail before his child’s birth.

It remains unclear whether van der Zwaan has information about Manafort and Gates’ activities during the 2016 campaign. The court documents filed against van der Zwaan make no mention of campaign-related activities.

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