The special counsel
investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an
attorney today with lying to federal investigators about his interactions
with a former Trump campaign official.
A charging document filed in federal court in Washington
accuses Alex van der Zwaan of lying to investigators about his
interactions with Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort. Both
Gates and Manafort were indicted last year on charges of conspiracy to
launder money and acting as unregistered foreign agents.
The plea hearing comes on the heels of an extraordinary
indictment from Mueller last week that charged 13 Russian nationals
and three Russian companies in a hidden social media effort to meddle
in the 2016 presidential election by denigrating Democrat Hillary
Clinton and boosting the chances of Trump.
The single-count information against van der Zwaan was filed
ahead of a plea hearing scheduled for later Tuesday.
The charge stems from a part of the special counsel’s
investigation into Manafort and Gates, who are accused of directing a
covert Washington lobbying campaign on behalf of pro-Russian
According to the court filing, prosecutors say van der Zwaan lied
to federal investigators about his role in the production of a report on
the trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She is a
political foe of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose
political party was a client of Gates and Manafort.
In the charging document, van der Zwaan is accused of lying
during an interview with prosecutors and FBI agents on Nov. 3, 2017.
The charging document accuses him of lying about the timing of his
last communication with Gates and an unidentified person described
as Person A. It also accuses him of deleting emails sought by the
special counsel’s office and lying about a phone call he surreptitiously
recorded in September 2016 with Gates and Person A regarding the
The report was cited in the 12-count indictment against Manafort
and Gates. It accuses the two men of acting as unregistered lobbyists
in connection with the rollout of the report, which was commissioned by
the Ukrainian government. According to the indictment, Manafort and
Gates used one of their offshore accounts to funnel $4 million to pay
secretly for the report.
The report was authored by Washington law firm Skadden,
Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, known as Skadden Arps.
Van der Zwaan’s now-defunct LinkedIn page lists him as an
associate in the London office of the prominent law firm.
Trump is showing signs of frustration with the continued Russia
probe, blaming Democrats for shrugging off his prior claims that the
U.S. election system was rigged only to point to Russia influence, the
Associated Press (AP) news reported.
Source: Oman News Agency