Lawyer Gets 30-Day Term in Special Counsel Probe

Alex van der Zwaan admitted lying to Robert Mueller’s investigators. Mueller released a memo confirming his authority to investigate former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Special counsel Robert Mueller netted his first prison sentence on Tuesday and disclosed a memo showing it had been explicitly authorized to look beyond the presidential election, reports the Wall Street Journal. Alex van der Zwaan, who admitted lying to Mueller’s investigators, was sentenced to 30 days in prison by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who said the attorney “knew better” but had repeatedly misled investigators. “These are not mistakes, they are lies,” she said. Mueller’s prosecutors separately revealed an August memo showing their office had been tasked with investigating former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, both for his work for the Ukrainian government and for allegations that he colluded with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election.

Allegations that Manafort committed a crime relating to “payments he received from the Ukraine government before and during the tenure of President Viktor Yanukovych ” are “within the scope of the Investigation,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote last August. The investigation has resulted in five public guilty pleas to date, including three former Trump campaign aides who admitted to lying to investigators. On Tuesday, van der Zwaan apologized to the court. In February, he admitted he had misled investigators about his contacts with former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates and others. He said he had done so to protect his job as a lawyer, but he was later fired.