The first person caught up in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s net was sentenced today in federal court in Washington D.C. While Van Der Zwann may not be a major name, the 33-year old lawyer from New York represents a major new step and may have played a major role. That role led him to lie to the F.B.I., deleted emails and computer files despite a subpeona, (a “no-no” for lawyers, he will not practice law again for at least 5 years), and received the thirty day sentence handed down by the judge.
Van Der Zwann’s played a part in the Gates-Manafort-Ukraine nexus, and perhaps facilitating communications between Russia and Manafort within the Trump campaign – the second possibility remains unproven at this point. However, one can surely state that Mueller knows of Van Der Zwann’s role with respect to furthering communication between Manafort-Gates and Russia with respect to an as-yet-unnamed GRU special agent for the Russian government.
Of further interest, Van Der Zwann is married to the daughter of a Russian billionaire, and had been an attorney for NYC power firm Skadden Arps. The judge noted that part of the reason for the 30 day sentence involved the likelihood that Van Der Zwaan would leave the country and be beyond her jurisdiction, and the fact that he had yet to demonstrate any remorse about the crime itself.