Wednesday, 17 July, 2019

Judge Hands Down First Sentence in Mueller's Russia Investigation

Court poised to hand down 1st sentence in Mueller probe Yuri Gripas Reuters FILE
Sandra Phillips | 04 April, 2018, 09:47

When Rosenstein tapped Mueller for the position previous year, he gave Mueller the authority not only to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated" with Trump's campaign, but also to examine "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

Van der Zwaan was also ordered to pay $20,000 in fines and serve two months of supervised release after he gets out of prison, and he will likely be deported to London before his wife is due to give birth in August.

Prosecutors at the time did not take position on whether he should be locked up but stressed instead he had lied to investigators "repeatedly".

Van der Zwaan pled guilty in February to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Mueller's office during a questioning session on November 3, 2017.

Since his return in December 2017, Mr van der Zwaan has been walled up in a residential hotel in Washington and unable to return to London, where his wife is undergoing a hard first pregnancy, his lawyer said.

He looked the judge in the eye and said, "What I did was wrong".

As a lawyer in an worldwide law firm, van der Zwaan worked with Gates and Manafort for a Ukrainian political party closely aligned with Russian Federation.

"I think he would do much better than people think", Wisenberg said.

As far as we know, van der Zwaan's offense is confined to having lied to investigators regarding a handful of communications with Rick Gates and an unnamed Person A in Ukraine (reported in the press to have been Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnick), as well as a senior partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom-confirmed during the hearing by Weissman to have been former White House Counsel Greg Craig.

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The report notes that Mueller continues to seek an interview with Trump himself. Any investigation of links between Russia and the Trump campaign "would naturally cover ties that a former Trump campaign manager had to Russian-associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians, and Russian oligarchs", according to the 53-page filing in federal court in Washington. He didn't write a letter to the judge, as his family and friends did, and hasn't used his time in the U.S.to perform community service or other actions to make up for his actions, she said.

The specifics of the charges against van der Zwaan are complicated. Sentencing the defendant to at least some jail time served an important goal, she said: "It is a message that needs to be sent".

The special counsel already told Trump's attorneys in March that the president was a subject of investigation, and last month informed them that he was still probing the matter, the report said.

In between, on Tuesday morning, a young Dutchman entered the federal courthouse on Third Street NW and earned the dubious distinction of being the first person to be sent to prison in the Mueller probe.

Whether he committed any crimes "arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych".

Mr Manafort has denied all charges against him. Manafort faces a pair of indictments charging him with earning tens of millions of dollars in Ukraine, laundering much of that money, failing to register as a foreign agent and cheating on his taxes.

Mueller has also indicted 13 Russians for their work to influence the 2016 presidential election through online social media.

Prosecutors also have charged 13 Russians and three Russian entities - including the Internet Research Agency, which US officials said churned out social media posts to manipulate American public opinion during the 2016 campaign.

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