Dutch lawyer first person sentenced in Mueller probe

WASHINGTON — A Dutch lawyer tied to former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates who admitted to lying to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

Alex van der Zwaan is the first person to be sentenced in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He pleaded guilty to lying to Mueller’s team in February and faced up to six months in prison.

Earlier Tuesday, Van der Zwaan’s attorneys begged for no jail time for their client, who mostly sat with pursed lips, slouched at the defense table.

He did say a few sentences of contrition that he read from a paper.

“What I did was wrong,” he uttered. He also apologized.

Van der Zwaan covered up his discussions with Gates and a business associate based in Ukraine in September 2016, while the Trump campaign operation was in full swing. He also admitted to lying to investigators about his failure to turn over email communications to the special counsel’s office and to his law firm as it cooperated with Mueller on its investigation of Gates’ and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s foreign lobbying.

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 last year, and an online supplier of fake usernames pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February. Gates later took a plea deal and has been cooperating with investigators.

Mueller has also indicted 13 Russians for their work to influence the 2016 presidential election through online social media.

Unlike other defendants, Van der Zwaan did not enter into an ongoing cooperation agreement with the special counsel’s office.