News World Robert Mueller charges lawyer with lying to FBI

Robert Mueller charges lawyer with lying to FBI

Mueller Russia investigation Alex van der Zwaan
Alex van der Zwaan has been charged with lying to the investigation looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Photo: AAP
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The US special counsel investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election has charged an attorney with lying about his communications with one of President Donald Trump’s former aides, Rick Gates.

Alex van der Zwaan is accused by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller of allegedly misleading the FBI last November about work his law firm performed in 2012 related to Ukraine.

The charge likely puts pressure on Mr Gates and President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who are both facing criminal charges including conspiracy to launder money and failure to register as foreign agents in connection with their political work for a pro-Russia Ukrainian party.

They have pleaded not guilty.

A trial is tentatively expected later this year, although recent media reports have said that Mr Gates is expected to plead guilty in the near future.

Mr Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

President Trump says there was no collusion and Russia denies meddling with the election.

The charging documents released on Tuesday say Mr van der Zwaan made false statements about the last time he communicated with Mr Gates and another unnamed person, only identified as “Person A.”

He allegedly told investigators he did not know why an email between him and Person A was not produced to the Special Counsel’s office, but had actually deleted or failed to produce emails that were being sought.

Mr van der Zwaan will appear in court later on Tuesday (local time) for a plea hearing.