Dutch attorney Alex Van Der Zwaan, who has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars, has acknowledged making false statements about conversations with Gates and an unknown agent whom prosecutors referred to as "Person A" as part of the ongoing investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"We're not talking about a traffic ticket," US District Judge Amy Jackson told Van Der Zwaan, emphasizing that his behavior had taken on greater importance because of gravity of the investigation that he had been dragged into.
"This was not a momentary lapse. He was essentially caught red-handed. This was not something that happened to him; this is something he did. He put his personal interest ahead of the interests of justice," the judge said.
Heckler to Alex van der Zwaan outside DC federal court: "IT'S MUELLER TIME! It's Mueller time! That's what happens when you play with Russians." pic.twitter.com/BGeV5Oqrtc— Ryan Barber (@cryanbarber) April 3, 2018
Van Der Zwaan was charged by Department of Justice (DoJ) special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed in April 2017 to investigate alleged ties between Russian actors and the Trump campaign. Van Der Zwaan was questioned by the DoJ in November about his work as an attorney for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, and about his connections to Manafort and Gates, who previously served as lobbyists in Ukraine on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied all allegations of interference, calling the accusations "absurd." Trump has also denied any collusion between himself and the Kremlin and has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt."