Mueller charges lawyer with lying about interaction with Rick Gates

Posted February 20, 2018

The US special counsel who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has charged an attorney with lying about his communications with Rick Gates, a former aide to Donald Trump's campaign.

The indictment against Alex Van der Zwaan also accuses him of deleting or otherwise not producing emails sought by the Special Counsel's office, which is investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

Skadden released a statement Tuesday morning saying that the "firm terminated its employment of Alex van der Zwaan in 2017 and has been cooperating with authorities in connection with this matter".

The court filing says that van der Zwaan lied to investigators about his interactions with Rick Gates.

Zwaan's firm's Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLC was behind a 2012 report that sought to justify the Ukrainian government's prosecution and conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine.

Van der Zwaan's case is the sixth criminal matter made public by the special counsel's office.

Tymoshenko was jailed in 2011 after being convicted by the Ukrainian government of abuse of power.

He is also accused of lying about the failure to turn over an email communication to the special counsel's office. She was freed after Yanukovych's ouster in 2014.

It was reported in September that Mueller was interested in Skadden's involvement in the report. At the time, Gates was still working with the Trump campaign.

Gates met Manafort almost three decades ago while he was an intern at Black, Manafort, Stone, Kelly - one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC.

Trump tweets that's because President Barack Obama "thought Crooked Hillary was going to win and he didn't want to 'rock the boat.'" But Trump says when he won "the whole game changed and the Russian excuse became the narrative of the Dems".

Paul Manafort was involved in recruiting Skadden to prepare the report on behalf of Ukraine, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg News.

The Justice Department alleged that the 13 Russian nationals and three groups broke criminal laws and meant to interfere in "U.S. elections and political processes", the Department said.