Alex Van Der Zwaan: “Gone Native”

Tomorrow, Alex Van der Zwaan, the former Skadden associate who unsuccessfully attempted to hide ongoing conversations between him, Rick Gates, Konstantin Kilimnik, and (presumably) Greg Craig that took place in September and October 2016 will be sentenced. The government is seeking prison time, his lawyers are seeking probation (in part to keep him out of our nightmarish deportation process).

In advance of the sentencing (and today’s filing explaining how all this is authorized under the Special Counsel mandate Rod Rosenstein gave to Mueller), I wanted to lay out a few more details revealed by the public documents in this case, including the prosecution and defense arguments on sentencing.

Taken together, the documents reveal a few interesting wrinkles.

First, the defense argues that Van der Zwaan didn’t hide the communications he had with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik in fall 2016 to hide the ongoing relationship Trump’s onetime campaign manager had with someone the FBI still believed had ties to GRU, the Russian intelligence agency behind the hack-and-leak of the DNC emails. Rather, his defense lawyers claim Van der Zwaan hid those things (or rather, attempted to hide them, using means it’s shocking a lawyer would believe might work) because he didn’t want to reveal to the Skadden lawyers who represented him in his first interview with Mueller’s team that he had recorded his conversations in that time period with Greg Craig.

He knew it was improper to have recorded his conversation with the Skadden senior partner; indeed, he understood that he could be fired for having done so. He also knew that a truthful disclosure about his September 2016 calls with Gates and Person A would almost inevitably lead to questioning that could quickly get to the existence of the recordings. During the interview, Alex was keenly aware that he was not speaking only to OSC. Alex was represented by Skadden lawyers, and anything he shared with the OSC would simultaneously be heard by Skadden. In his mind, his boss was listening to every word.

The explanation is unconvincing (so is his lawyers’ claim that Van der Zwaan couldn’t read the Ukrainian document he received). After all, Craig knew (and presumably has also told Mueller’s team unless he’s at legal jeopardy himself) of some of those emails. So Van der Zwaan was bound to be asked the same kinds of questions in any case. Which he was. Which is how he came to confess to making the recordings (and keeping his own notes) in the first place.

It’s not entirely clear why he made that recording. The defense filing claims he didn’t tell anyone about them. But given another detail laid out by all this paperwork, I at least wonder whether he intended to share it with Gates or Kilimnik.

Consider the “going native” claim made about Van der Zwaan by an unnamed witness (who might be Greg Craig).

Yet, although he had been instructed not to share advance copies of the report with the public relations firm retained by the Government of Ukraine, van der Zwaan had, in the words of one witness, “gone native”—that is, he had grown too close to Manafort, Gates, and Person A.

While we knew that Van der Zwaan had shared the Skadden report with Gates and Kilimnik back in 2012, in direct violation of Skadden’s wishes, the defense filing reveals another key detail. In 2012, either while he was moonlighting while being paid by Skadden to help Manafort, Gates, and Kilimnik spin the Skadden report to make the prosecution of Tymoshenko look kosher or just after, Van der Zwaan was talking about working for Manafort and Gates.

That’s another good reason to hide all this: Van der Zwaan was ignoring Skadden Arps instructions at a time when he was considering a job with Gates and Manafort, who weren’t technically the client, but who were laundering the money to pay Skadden with.

Finally, while I don’t make as much of the tie between Van der Zwaan and his father-in-law, Alfa Bank founder German Khan, as others do, the defense filing provides more details on when Van der Zwaan joined the family. He and Eva Khan first met in “spring” 2016; elsewhere that gets described as a year before their marriage, which took place in June 2017.

Which is to say, the entirety of Van der Zwaan’s relationship with the Khan family has taken place during the Russian operation and attempt to cover up the tampering in the US election.

Just for fun: Back in 2008, American diplomats passed on complaints about Khan’s heavy-handedness in the operations of BP Russia, including the anecdote that Khan said he considers The Godfather to be his “manual for life.”

At dinner that evening, Khan had told a stunned Summers that The Godfather was his favorite movie, that he watched it every few months, and that he considered it a “manual for life.”

There’s actually no reason to believe that Van der Zwaan would have become a valuable enough resource that Khan would marry off his daughter to him, Godfather like.

But Van der Zwaan’s behavior in 2016 may make better sense considering the full context of that “going native” comment.

Update: I see from Zoe Tillman’s coverage of Van der Zwaan’s sentencing (where he was given a month in jail) that his lawyers fibbed a bit when they said his second grand jury appearance was entirely voluntary.

[Andrew] Weissmann refuted the idea that van der Zwaan voluntarily came back to tell the truth, saying he had been served with a grand jury subpoena after his first meeting in November 2017 and would have been required to return to the United States anyway.

2012: Van der Zwaan working on Tymoshenko report in facilitating role

July to early August 2012: Van der Zwaan provides unauthorized copy of Skadden report on Yulia Tymoshenko to PR firm engaged by Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice

September 2012: Van der Zwaan provides Rick Gates talking points to spin Skadden report

2012-2013: Van der Zwaan conducts discussions over Gmail about working directly for Gates and Manafort; these were among the other materials Van der Zwaan attempted to destroy in advance of his Mueller interview

2014: Eva Khan moves to London to study art (she is 11 years younger than Van der Zwaan)

Spring 2016: Van der Zwaan and Eva Khan meet

September 2016: First public allegations of spam traffic between Trump marketing account and Alfa bank

September and October 2016:

Rick Gates contacts Van der Zwaan, urges him to contact Kliminik and sends him a document in Ukrainian

September 12, 2016: Van der Zwaan emails Konstantin Kilimnik, who asks him to contact him on Telegraph or WhatsApp

Van der Zwaan reports this to (presumably) Greg Craig

Van der Zwaan reports back to Gates

[These communications continue as a series]

January 2017: Paul Manafort provides Trump a strategy to rebut the Russian investigation by discrediting the Steele dossier

January 2017: Brian Benczkowski leaves transition team and returns to Kirkland & Ellis

March to May 2017: Pending Assistant Attorney General nominee Brian Benczkowski advises Alfa Bank on lawsuit against Buzzfeed

April 2017: Jeff Sessions asks Benczkowski if he wants to be AAG for Criminal Division

May 26, 2017: After months of consultation with Alfa Bank (and German Khan by name) sue Buzzfeed over the Steele dossier

June 2017: Van der Zwaan and Khan married; she applies for permanent residency as his spouse

Prior to November 3, 2017: Van der Zwaan gives Skadden his laptop from the 2012 time frame

October 3, 2017: Alfa Bank lawsuit is moved to federal jurisdiction

November 3, 2017: Van der Zwaan participates in eight hour voluntary interview, represented by Skadden Arps lawyers; during that interview, FBI confronts him with an email he withheld from Skadden’s discovery

November 16, 2017: Van der Zwaan returns to the US

November 17, 2017: Van der Zwaan surrenders his passport to the FBI and retains new counsel (this is probably when Skadden fired him)

November 29, 2017: Kilimnik emails Manafort for review of purportedly exonerating op-ed

December 1, 2017: Van der Zwaan’s second interview with FBI

February 14, 2018: Van der Zwaan agrees to plea deal

February 20, 2018: Van der Zwaan pleads guilty

February 23, 2018: Gates pleads guilty

May 2018: Date Van der Zwaan would have made partner

August 2018: Due date of Van der Zwaan son

68 replies
  1. Galactus-36215 says:

    “January 2017: Paul Manafort provides Trump a strategy to rebut the Russian investigation by discrediting the Steele dossier”

    Many people have written that the Steele Dossier is full of unverified facts that that no media source would touch it. Interestingly enough, people don’t develop strategies to discredit things that the media have already called ‘salacious and unverified’. The only reason to discredit something is because there is truth to it in some way that exposes you.

    And the one fact in the Steele dossier that is absolutely verified to date is the fact that Rosneft sold 19.5% stake in its company to Glencore, QIA and 2.2B euro in unknown investors.

    • emptywheel says:

      That Rosneft was selling that stake was reported before the dossier reported it. And the dossier did not predict that it would be sold to Glencore.

      • Galactus-36215 says:

        But Page did meet with Rosneft and that is also another link. He met with either investor relations, to which I believe he admitted, or with Sechin as reported by Politco.

        The fact remains that this event did in fact happen. That there are unknown investors in the Rosneft transaction and that Carter page had met with someone at Rosneft in the July 7-8 meetings.

        No one knows who the investors/middlemen are in this transaction. That’s the whole point and why US banks won’t now syndicate the loans and the Chinese company CEFC is balking after some initial payments have been made.They are balking because the owners cannot be identified. Also, this transaction circumvents US sanctions. And we know how keen the Trump administration has been on implementing them.

        The Chinese government have arrested the CEO of CEFC and the US DOJ have arrested a CEFC think tank guy (Patrick H0) in New York. His arrest was just last November on money-laundering and bribery.

        Furthermore, if the Chinese complete the sale, there will still be a 0.10% unidentified owner(s) of Rosneft. That’s over 10M shares.

        • Galactus-36215 says:

          Apologies. It’s not CEFC that is balking. It’s the Chinese government who have stepped in and put a stop/hold on this transaction. The Chinese government also announced it was liquidating CEFC assets ($3.2B).

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Yep.  It’s an understatement to say this defense argument fails out-of-the-box.  Even if Van der Zwann’s lawyers found a more plausible argument, they would still be trying to build sympathy in the heart of a Beltway federal district court judge for an apparently well-to-do, tall, handsome son-in-law of a billionaire, who worked in London for one of America’s powerhouse law firms, who admits he lied to the FBI.  Pushing a rope.

    Van der Zwan went to work for Skadden right after completing his legal qualifications.  That ordinarily suggests both  legal smarts and street smarts, and already having a very good network.  His bio lists him as being conversant, if not fluent, in Russian.  His wife and in-laws speak Russian, her daddy is a billionaire.  Alex lasted at Skadden through to senior associate ranks.  That requires being very good and burning a lot of hours for nearly a decade, which makes this line of argument little more than a whispered, Hail, Mary.

    Van der Zwann knew he was probably out of a job at Skadden.  He knew that if he lied to the FBI, he would lose both his job and his license to practice.  That suggests that he’s hiding more than he’s admitted to.  It’s a common problem among so many on Trump’s team.

    • emptywheel says:

      He’s fluent in Russian. His mother, who is Russian, spoke it to him exclusively.

      Which is why it’s not credible to claim he can’t read Ukrainian. Hell, pop-in-law is also Ukrainian.

      • Vlad says:

        I know both of them personally and yes, he is 100% fluent in Russian which means he was 100% able to read and understand the Ukrainian documents (which were most likely actually written in Russian…).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Well, Mueller’s recent position was that he wanted Van der Zwann to spend a little time in the pokey, but that he wouldn’t mind if he were out in time to greet his newborn.  A solomonic resolution that suggests he offered up useful, if not needful, things.

  3. Trip says:

    Marrying off the daughter as financial strategy sounds so old world. (It also sounds like there’s scant info on how they met). But then again, economic elites usually marry fortunes together, instead of reaching outside of class.  Donald and Melania being a big exception to that, I suppose. People have speculated that the Ivanka and Jared union was a business deal, too.  Who really knows why any people are together?

  4. maestro says:

    I can’t believe the SCO hasn’t filed their opposition to Manafort’s motion yet. They seem to be waiting until literally the last possible moment, as local rules seem to give them until 11:59pm local time.

      • maestro says:

        If it were me, given it’s importance, I probably would have filed it while the clerk’s office was still open so if there was a problem with ECF I could do it by hand.

          • maestro says:

            For sure, I just meant what if you wait until 10pm to file and then whoops, there’s an outage. Then you’re screwed. If the courthouse is still open at least you have options.

            • bmaz says:

              Maybe. Kind of doubt it with Mueller though. Mueller seems to like such windows to make statements.

              • maestro says:

                My read of the local rules is that given this case has a public docket already, if they want to file something under seal that’s not already permitted by statute to be under seal, you have to request leave to do so. Which I don’t believe they’ve done for this opposition.

                Another possibility: in my line of work, when the deadline to oppose a dispositive motion comes and goes with no opposition filed, it means a settlement has been reached.

  5. Rapier says:

    What would prompt a guy whose limit seemed to be the sky to throw in with Manafort in the sewer that was Ukraine is a puzzle. His Wiki bio says he speaks fluent Russian, English and French too. Much of his work was at the very highest level international tax avoidance for the worlds .1%  and for one of the globes top law firms where he was sure to  become a partner.

    Sure that biz it to transform the worlds nastiest dirt into something fit for handling with white gloves  but Ukriane, and Manafort?   Manafort a mere jobber and second rate fixer compared to many he was working for and with.  I suppose he get off on slumming.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Apparently, VdZ spoke Dutch, too, as useful in money laundering as it is in buying tulips.

      Your questions are good and so far unanswered.  He gave up a Skadden partnership, but having it in 2018 would not have been obvious in 2012.  He seems to have been caught short and couldn’t recover.  The usual strategy game response when you find yourself in too deep to get out is to go farther in.  Nevertheless, things do not seem to add up.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        They seem to have come on stage after VdZ had already made his faustian bargain.  But not telling tales, and being willing to lie to investigators or go to the pokey to protect “family” secrets would have been perceived as part of deal.  Manafort is presumably in the same boat, but he’s much farther out to sea.

    • Mark says:

      It’s not entirely clear why he made that recording. The defense filing claims he didn’t tell anyone about them.

      Insurance, he has probably recorded a lot of calls from a lot of clients and even if they deny it Skadden probably does the same with a lot of those super wealthy tax avoiders.  How do you think they stay one of the world’s premier law firms.  Not by billable hours alone.  Recording might be SOP there.

  6. pseudonymous in nc says:

    In passing, I notice that vdZ has four lawyers from Cooley listed for his sentencing hearing — three of them partners — and somebody’s paying that bill.

    • scribe says:

      Their whole bill on this will be far less than a fraction of a day’s float for the billionaire.  He’ll pay it out of petty cash.

      • emptywheel says:

        I don’t understand why he let Skadden rep him in the first place. Unless he felt obliged to.

        • bmaz says:

          Skadden represented him on the criminal case at some point?? Get out. Skadden “supposedly” has the best conflict check program in American law. Whut??

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            If he was just shy of making partner, I expect Skadden would have wanted to keep any dirt in-house as much as possible.  His having worked in Eastern Europe with Manafort kind of clients would have guaranteed there would be some.  It was probably cast as a professional courtesy, but anyone about to make partner should have known he would not be its beneficiary.

  7. scribe says:

    Sounds to me like someone – on the Russian intel side of things – was trying to penetrate Skadden. Viewed that way, marrying a billionaire’s daughter to a soon-to-be-partner makes perfect sense. Barring this kind of chicanery, the firm would never cut loose, and do all it had to do to retain, the billionaire’s son-in-law. After all, like Piketty says, “billionaires consume lawyers [and other such servants]”. The s-i-l would make all kinds of rain from daddy’s many interests needing lawyering, making his partners happy and, if a little information leaked out the back door, no one would mind too much so long as the checks cleared.

    I once knew, indirectly, a guy who became a managing director at a major NYC I-bank, mostly on the strength of having a corporate raider whose name you’d know as an uncle and not his exceptional intellect or whatever. His undergrad was from some Midwestern cow college, his MBA from night school. He got his start with a job at one of his uncle’s companies, a gig bigger than his academic qualifications merited. I’m not sure why he left the I-bank – coulda lost money, or coulda seen the grass as greener on the other side – but he now runs (and/or owns) a pretty successful-enough hedge fund.

    That’s the way these things are done.

    I’m still hoping this mess comes back to bite Greg Craig in the ass for his part in hanging that frame around Blago’s neck. It still may.

    • Peterr says:

      Sounds to me like someone – on the Russian intel side of things – was trying to penetrate Skadden.

      I agree that this looks like a penetration operation, but I’m undecided as to whether it was Skadden or the US that was the target.

      From the timeline:

      July to early August 2012: Van der Zwaan provides unauthorized copy of Skadden report on Yulia Tymoshenko to PR firm engaged by Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice

      As soon as he did this, he put his soul in the hands of others. Whatever benefit he got (or thought he would get) out of this is completely overshadowed by the danger he put himself in. Now the MoJ has in their hands a document whose revelation could cost Van der Zwaan his career if not more than that, and all they have to do from this time forward is remind him of this little episode. They. Own. Him.

      Now, the question becomes “what do we want to use our new acquisition for?”

      Back to the timeline:

      Spring 2016: Van der Zwaan and Eva Khan meet

      [various episodes involving Van der Zwaan, Ukraine, and the Russians omitted here]

      June 2017: Van der Zwaan and Khan married; she applies for permanent residency as his spouse

      That last phrase caught my attention. On the one hand, this is a perfectly ordinary thing for someone to do after marrying an American – apply for residency. Newly-married spouses tend to want to live together, travel together, and make babies together, which is a whole lot easier if you can get the right paperwork in order. On the other hand, this is also a perfectly ordinary thing for someone to do in order to plant a spy when you can’t simply provide them with cover as an assistant visa officer at the embassy in the target country. Presidents and Prime Ministers can do that, but oligarch’s can’t.

      This second option would answer Marcy’s question in the post: “There’s actually no reason to believe that Van der Zwaan would have become a valuable enough resource that Khan would marry off his daughter to him, Godfather like.” If this second option is the case, the value of the marriage isn’t that Van der Zwaan is so special, but that he provides a legal vehicle for putting a Khan operative right in the middle of things in DC when Khan needs exactly that kind of an operative. If Hillary wins in Nov 2016, Khan will need all the help he can get to protect his interests, and Putin et al. may not necessarily feel inclined to protect him as much as he wants to be protected. OTOH, if Trump wins, then having his own independent person in DC married to someone like Van der Zwaan could give him an independent entry with the new Trump folks.

      That Green Card could have been worth a lot to Khan back in 2016.

      • greengiant says:

        Van der Zwaan has been London based and is Dutch,  does not have US citizenship thus the deportation from his stay in the US possibility at the end of sentencing.  His spouse is in London.  Eva Khan has been living in the UK and is applying for UK residency per


        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          She’s entitled to an EEA Family Permit as the spouse of an EEA-member-state citizen resident in another EEA member state. (This is how the UK implements it; other EEA member states do it differently. Of course, that will change because of stupid fucking Brexit, and it gets complicated if your spouse is in federal pokey in the USA.

          Her oligarch daddy should have just bought her a Tier 1 investor visa.

          • Vlad says:

            I think since her father is on the PEP list (“Politicly Exposed Person), any visa she might ask is going to be looked at carefully.  The Tier 1 Investor Visa would have been no brainer for them as he already invested many millions here.  However, this type of visa is clearly blocked for PEP so her “cleanest” route is the spouse visa.

        • f is for fake says:

          Wouldn’t immediate deportation be automatic for someone like van der Zwaan, a non-citizen, non-resident felon? I could see him never even getting a visa again, too.


  8. maestro says:

    The SCO filing appears to be online. It seems that rather than lay out how Manafort’s crimes relate to the overall conspiracy, they are relying on an additional Rosenstein memo specifically authorizing them to prosecute Manafort for Ukraine-related crimes.

    So no spoilers it seems!

  9. greengiant says:

    Unredacted only includes colluding with Russian government officials and payments from Ukrainian government page 281. Lawyers will comment on whether DOJ and SC can withhold other Manafort allegations at this point. Wonder how many Rosenstein memorandums there are.

  10. Vlad says:

    I know both of them personally from London.

    I have known him pretty well around 2-3 years before he met Eva.

    They met at a social even organised (and he was introduced) to her by a Ukrainian oligarch who Alex was representing on behalf of Skadden on a few criminal and civil cases.  That oligarch saw an opportunity to connect his own Skadden lawyer with a naive young Eva who could open the door for him to her billionaire father’s circle.  Much of these facts were available on her Instagram account until it was recently taken down.

    • Vlad says:

      And just as an addition – she met him at a social BBQ party in May 2016 organised by friends including his Ukrainian Oligarch client & friend.  The Ukrainian probably wished Alex would be able to get close to Eva so that the Ukrainian would be able to get closer to German Khan (they were not close beforehand).

      But German Khan had nothing to do with the introduction until she introduced her new bf to her family.  So there was no “setup” or any connection other than pure greed of Alex wanting to marry the daughter of a Russian oligarch and his Ukrainian “small oligarch” friend and client wishing to use this channel to get closer to German Khan.   She was a little naive girl who failed in love with an international charmer who later ended up cheating on her before and after their wedding, and her father accepted him as his daughter choice.

      • Trip says:

        Bit of trivia: Nat Rothschild, the previously infamous and royal fuck-up of the uber-wealthy-powerful Rothschild family, and later protégé of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, once had a fling with Ivanka Trump.
        It reminds me of the Joni Mitchell lyrics:

        All the people at this party
        They’ve got a lot of style
        They’ve got stamps of many countries
        They’ve got passport smiles
        Some are friendly
        Some are cutting
        Some are watching it from the wings
        Some are standing in the centre
        Giving to get something

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    To recap, after years of playing fast and loose with rules at Skadden, and presumably the law, in pursuit of oligarchic clients, VdZ came to a fork in the road: a) embarrass yourself with your firm and get fired, b) commit a felony by lying to the FBI and lose your law license in the bargain. He chose (b).

    Stellar bad judgment from a guy about to make partner at one of the world’s largest, most competitive and lucrative law firms. But people with such impressively bad judgment do not long survive at highly competitive firms, let alone make partner. Something else is afoot. Whatever it is, VdZ does not seem central to Mueller’s investigation..

    Separately, the MSM is trotting out old memes about why VdZ won’t spend any time in jail. The most irritating one is that VdZ has “suffered enough,” by way of public embarrassment and loss of status. His Icarus-like fall might be a member of the elite’s worst nightmare. It is not much punishment for a felony. Ask the two women of color who are about to spend half a decade or more in prison for unintentionally violating voting laws. Ask the hundreds of people killed for being black in America. The MSM really needs to clean up its act. We’ve suffered enough and it’s embarrassing.

    • Trip says:

      Come now, @earl, Van der Zwaan obviously suffers from affluenza. Have you no heart for the real victims in society, those of wealth?  All of the others made their own beds, rich people are affected by circumstances. Get your act together, @earl!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        VdZ seems highly qualified to be on Trump’s legal team.  Being a convicted felon, a furriner and probably not having any license to practice, let alone in America, would be no obstacles for the Don.  He could certainly use him to draft better non-disclosure agreements. But the Don would have to cure him of that bad habit of recording conversations.

        Or VdZ could make a lateral move and become the new CIO for Panera Bread. I hear they’ll need one, or would you like to supersize that data theft order?

        As for affluenza, rumor has it there will a centennial pandemic this winter.

        • Trip says:

          I don’t know @ earl. I suspect the next hire, not legal, but in appointments, might be the MyPillow Guy. Maybe an EPA position, or something. He has an “F” rating as a company, laid off workers, has multiple lawsuits against him, and is a phenomenal Trump ass-kiss. What better qualifications are there, amirite? Besides, who needs legal help with plans of a massacre?

        • bmaz says:

          By the way, the “Affluenza Teen” who killed multiple people just got released from prison after two years. In the same Texas county where a black woman was just sentenced to FIVE years prison for mistakenly voting when she was prohibited because on probation.

  12. Vlad says:

    While I agree with you about the conclusion and think he should be sentenced harshly as a deterrent and in line with the severity of his crime (ie, much more than the two poor ladies…), after reading VdZ’s lawyer submission, I can’t see any reasonable judge sending him in jail.

    The reason is very simple – he clearly didn’t lie because he wanted to hide his action from the prosecutor, but rather than from his own bosses at Skadden to avoid getting fired.

    Ultimately, once he got fired and that “fear” was removed, he opened up completely and voluntarily submitted extra pieces of evidence, including ones that were not requested that helped the prosecution.

    I’d love to see him locked up, but I bet it won’t happen and he would walk away free later today. Read my lips :)

          • bmaz says:

            Eh, if he wasn’t a big firm lawyer and it wasn’t this case, he would have gotten probation or, at worst, home detention. 30 to 60 days was as big as was ever going to be. It is a fair, and consistent, sentence under the circumstances.

            • Trip says:

              Okay, thanks for that perspective.

              But I stand by my position that he is a rich hipster douche.
              Case closed!

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          And the main point of contention was what ICE would do — and how long its deportation procedures would take — once he got out.

        • Rapier says:

          Was this a felony?

          Would it get him disbarred in the US
          Was he actually practicing law in the US?

          How is it likely to effect his ability to practice law in England or the Continent?

          I assume he will be treated like a gentleman upon release, no men in blue windbreakers with lettering on the back around,  and will soon be on a plane back to England. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and the wife are seen in the Hampton’s in season in a few years. I mean cripes, it’s like having Hugh Grant around.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, was a felony. My guess is he does lose law license in UK, if he has not already. He certainly would in the US, but he was not admitted here. Doubt he and wife will be in Hamptons anytime soon though, he will likely be barred from entry to US for a long time, if not permanently.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      VdZ’s lawyer would say that, wouldn’t he?

      I think the jury’s out on why VdZ lied to the FBI, but his lawyers’ defensive dike has a few gaping holes in it.  Even Mueller’s team suggested less than six months in the pokey, so it’s not pushing a prison sentence hard either.

      Separately, I understand that Theresa May has directed the chief scientist from Porton Down to hold a press conference this afternoon.  Mind you, it’s to SkyNews, a Murdoch creature.

  13. William nSmithers says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that van der Zwaan thinks should he cooperate with Mueller’s investigation to save himself from prison time that he would mysteriously die from an administered nerve agent? His father-in-law is a notoriously violent oligarch who carried a pistol to meetings with BP reps and whose threats resulted in these reps fleeing back to America so that Russia could take over the proposed oil-based commercial alliance.

    • bmaz says:

      Nope. If that was the case, there is no way the Mueller shop would have cut the non-cooperation deal with vdx that they did. He did not have that juice to give, if he did, his plea would look far different. And, so to would have the government’s willingness to sentence him at light speed, even faster than the the quickest of norms in federal court, and without requesting any definitive term. It pretty much looks like this is exactly what it appears to be.

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