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Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who once worked closely with Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former deputy chairman Rick Gates, became the first person to be sentenced in Mueller's ongoing probe, which has hung over Trump's presidency.

"Your honour, what I did was wrong".

Prosecutors said van der Zwaan was lying, and that he spoke to Gates and Person A in September 2016 using encrypted communications - conversations that he recorded, including a separate conversation he had with Gregory Craig, a Skadden senior partner overseeing work involving Manafort. "I await your judgment".

ABC News reported that Ukraine-based Konstantin Kilimnik is the associate with whom van der Zwaan and Gates met, although he denies it. Kilimnik worked with Manafort previous year to improve the latter's image in Ukraine, which violated a court-imposed gag order.

The first person has been jailed as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into alleged collusion between Donald Trump's presidential campaign team and Russian Federation.

Van der Zwaan admitted in February to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Gates and the person with ties to Russian intelligence.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors included that detail in a memo defending the scope of their investigation, which so far has resulted in criminal charges against 19 people and three Russian companies.

They believe having van der Zwaan spend time in prison would serve as a deterrent.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Van der Zwaan had faced zero to six months in prison.

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He also is married to the daughter of billionaire German Khan who owns the Alfa Group, Russia's largest financial and industrial investment group.

During interviews with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, van der Zwaan told the feds that he last spoke to Gates in August 2016, but it was later revealed that he spoke to Gates in September 2016.

Since his return in December, Schwartz said, van der Zwaan has been walled up in a residential hotel in Washington and unable to return to London, where his wife is undergoing a hard first pregnancy.

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann did not request a specific punishment for van der Zwann but he did point out that "the defendant is an attorney who after being explicitly warned about the consequences of lying. went ahead and repeatedly lied to the government".

She also declined to offer sympathy to van der Zwann after his lawyers said he has been bored in a D.C. -area hotel for months with nothing to do but converse with attorneys.

The sentencing came just hours after another development in the special counsel's investigation of Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. But this sentencing has nothing to do with Trump, the 2016 election, or Russian Federation. He had asked to be home in London by August for the birth of his first child.

Van der Zwaan has since been fired by the firm, it says it is cooperating with investigators.

In particular, they argued that prosecutors' knowledge of Manafort's Ukraine work did not arise directly from Mueller's probe but instead grew out of separate Justice Department inquiries dating to 2014.


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