Rick Gates associate is the first to be sentenced in Mueller probe

Blind Justice

A London-based lawyer who admitted to lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's team in November 2017 was ordered Tuesday to serve 30 days in prison, the first sentence imposed since Mueller was appointed almost a year ago.

Dutch attorney Alex Van Der Zwaan, who has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars, has acknowledged making false statements about conversations with Gates and an unknown agent whom prosecutors referred to as "Person A" as part of the ongoing investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

ABC News reported that Ukraine-based Konstantin Kilimnik is the associate with whom van der Zwaan and Gates met, although he denies it. Kilimnik worked with Manafort past year to improve the latter's image in Ukraine, which violated a court-imposed gag order.

Mueller's team argued during van der Zwaan's sentencing that the judge needed to be tough to make sure witnesses cooperate with federal prosecutors.

But Van der Zwaan's apology and Schwartz's explanations for his client's actions appeared to ring hollow for the judge. Prosecutors later revealed van der Zwann coordinated the rollout with Gates and another Manafort ally described as a Russian intelligence agent.

"He is literally in limbo", Schwartz said. The report, authored by the law firm, was about the corruption trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The first sentence has been handed down in the Mueller probe.

"In or about September 2016, he spoke with both Gates and Person A regarding the Report, and surreptitiously recorded the call", the indictment says.




Like van der Zwaan, Gates has also struck a plea deal with Mueller's office, as has disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

United States intelligence agencies say Russian President Vladimir Putin himself was behind a hacking and disinformation effort to disrupt the election and boost Trump's chances of winning. That individual, identified only as "Person A" in the filings from Mueller's team, is believed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Manafort's lobbying firm in Ukraine, according to Reuters.

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

Van der Zwaan last June married Eva Khan, the daughter of Khan.

The couple is expecting their first child later this year.

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.

A former associate at the law firm Skadden Arps, Van der Zwaan, 33, was born in the Netherlands but lives now in London.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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