WASHINGTON (AP) - A Dutch attorney who lied to federal agents investigating former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in prison in the first punishment handed down in special counsel’s Russia investigation. He was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
Alex van der Zwaan’s sentence could set a guidepost for what other defendants charged with lying in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation may receive when their cases are resolved. Among them are a former White House national security adviser and a Trump campaign foreign policy aide.
Van der Zwaan had faced zero to six months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, and his attorneys had pushed for him to pay a fine and leave the country.
But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing the need to deter others from lying in an investigation of international importance, said incarceration was necessary.
“There were not mistakes. These were lies,” Jackson told van der Zwaan as he stood before her.
“This was lying during the course of a federal investigation,” she added, noting that being able to “write a check and walk away” would not fit the seriousness of the crime or send the right message.
The criminal case against van der Zwaan is not directly related to Russian election interference, the main focus of Mueller’s probe.