Feb 20, 2018

Dutch lawyer pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Mueller probe

Alex van der Zwaan. Photo: Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty at a D.C. district court Tuesday following charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Van der Zwaan's plea comes after allegations that he lied to the FBI in a November 2017 meeting at Mueller's office in D.C. about his communications related to a report his law firm had prepared on the trial of a Ukrainian politician.

The details: Van der Zwaan was allegedly in talks with Rick Gates, and "Person A," who a Mueller associate identified on Tuesday as one of Manafort and Gates' colleagues based in Ukraine.

From inside the court room: What wasn't included in the court documents was that Van der Zwaan gave a draft copy of the report to a PR firm in an unauthorized manner then sent talking points on how to spin it when it would be made public to Gates.

  • Van der Zwaan communicated with "Person A" using encrypted messaging, according to a lawyer on Mueller's team.

What's next: The FBI has seized his passport and he must ask permission by the court to travel to Manhattan, where his law firm, Skadden, is located.

  • Van der Zwaan faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. He could face deportation or future denial of U.S. citizenship.
  • Sentencing is scheduled for April 3 and van der Zwaan's defense team is trying to expedite it since his wife is pregnant and due in August.

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