Dutch Lawyer Convicted as Part of Mueller Investigation

President Donald Trump is having trouble hiring people to represent him in the Russia investigation.       Spencer Platt  Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan to 30 days in prison for lying to federal investigators, according to multiple reports, in the first criminal sentence to result from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation.

Gates and Manafort were indicted by Mueller in October on a series of money laundering and fraud charges related to their Ukraine work.

Van der Zwann had faced between zero and six months in prison under sentencing guidelines.

The special counsel has charged 18 other individuals, including 13 Russian nationals, as part of his investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 USA election.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced the 33-year-old lawyer in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. Gates pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the probe, while Manafort faces a trial later this year.

Van der Zwaan's apology and Schwartz's explanations for his client's actions appeared to ring hollow for the judge.

Press reports have identified the businessman as Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Russian intelligence officer and a longtime associate of Gates and Manafort.

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The subject of the recorded phone call, prosecutors said, was a 2012 report prepared by van der Zwaan's law firm about the jailing of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

They believe having van der Zwaan spend time in prison would serve as a deterrent.

In pleading guilty, he admitted he lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about previous communications with Rick Gates, a Manafort protege who held a senior position in the Trump campaign, and that he also withheld and deleted emails.

Mueller's team argued that Rosenstein did have that power and used the August 2 memo to argue that Mueller had the authority to bring the indictments against Manafort related to his Ukraine work. Van Der Zwaan "demonstrated a moral compass that was off-kilter".

He was wrapped into the special counsel's investigation last fall after his firm, Skadden Arps, began to cooperate in an investigation of Manafort and Gates' alleged contact with Ukrainians and Russians during the 2016 election. "This is lying in a federal criminal investigation".

It's unclear when the next person charged in the Mueller probe might face sentencing, but the fact that van der Zwaan got jail time suggests they are likely to face stiff penalties. It came not long after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia, condominium and served him a search warrant in late July.

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