Four people have been sentenced to prison as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, with the latest being former Donald Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen. Here’s a roundup of the four people, their crimes and their punishments.
Cohen pleaded guilty to evading taxes from his personal business ventures, violating campaign finance laws at the direction of candidate Trump and lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Russia during the campaign. Most of the charges were brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan after a referral from Mueller.
After asking for a punishment without incarceration, Cohen was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison. The judge ordered Cohen to begin his prison term in March 2019.
Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI after he lied about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government. One of his Kremlin-linked contacts told him early in 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court filings.
A federal judge sentenced Papadopoulos to serve 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos cooperated with the investigation and asked the judge for leniency, while prosecutors sought a six-month prison term. He served his punishment at a federal prison in Wisconsin and was released from prison earlier this month.
Alex van der Zwaan
Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his discussions with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. Van der Zwaan was previously employed by the international law firm Skadden Arps, which worked on Ukraine projects with Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
He sentenced by a federal judge to 30 days in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. He served his time at a federal facility in Pennsylvania and was released in June. He was quickly deported back home to his native Netherlands as a consequence of his felony conviction.
Richard Pinedo of California pleaded guilty to identity fraud connected to Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to court filings. Pinedo acknowledged that he sold dummy bank accounts to Russians who used them for online payment services, like PayPal. Pinedo’s lawyer said his client was unaware of the identity or motivation of his customers.
Pinedo was sentenced to six months in prison. Prosecutors from Mueller’s office said Pinedo cooperated extensively with their investigation into Russian meddling and offered to help other prosecutors if related cases arise in the future. He is serving his sentence at federal prison near Taft, California, and is scheduled to be released in May 2019.