Dutch lawyer sentenced in Mueller probe, gets 30 days in prison

President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington to board Marine One

"What I did was wrong", van der Zwaan told the court.

Van der Zwaan, an attorney who formerly worked at the high-powered law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, pleaded guilty in February of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his communications with Rick Gates, a top aide to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. He lied in his first voluntary interview with investigators in November, and according to both Judge Amy Berman Jackson and prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on Tuesday, was "caught red-handed". In the process of looking into Manafort and Gates's ties to the Kremlin, Mueller's team started investigating the Skadden Arps report.

Van der Zwaan was fined $20,000 and sentenced to two months of supervised release.

That document, filed with the D.C. district court on Monday, suggests that Mueller has been seeking to connect Manafort's work in Ukraine to the Trump campaign all along.

"To the extent the Court seeks to take into account the circumstances of van der Zwaan's wife's pregnancy, consideration of that circumstance would not preclude a term of incarceration", the special counsel's office wrote. According to the indictment, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents personally questioned van der Zwaan in November 2017 about his communications with Gates and an unidentified Person A. He asked the judge whether he could pay an "appropriate fine" rather than go to jail.

While Mueller is investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election, this case arose during questioning about the defendant and Paul Manafort's work in the Ukraine more than 10 years ago.

Last month's filing from Mueller's office said it was "pertinent to the investigation" that "Gates and Person A were directly communicating in September and October 2016".

Van Der Zwaan's precise value to the Mueller investigation remains unclear.

In a detailed, 53-page defense, Mueller's team countered late Monday that an investigation of possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia would "naturally cover ties" between the campaign's chairman and "Russian associated political operatives, Russian-backed politicians and Russian oligarchs". The Department of Justice is now working with the Russian government to extradite the 13 Russian nationals.

Van der Zwaan was the fourth guilty plea in the Mueller investigation after Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators past year and agreed to cooperate, and an online supplier of fake usernames pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February.

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