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FBI Agent Who Played Key Role In Trump Russia Probe Changes Tune, Is Set To Plead Guilty Over Work For Oligarch



An FBI agent, Charles McGonigal, who investigated the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia in 2016, is changing his tune and will take a guilty plea in a case accusing him of illegally working for a Russian oligarch.

“The court has been informed that defendant Charles McGonigal may wish to enter a change of plea,” Manhattan federal Judge Jennifer Rearden wrote Monday while scheduling a hearing for Aug. 15.

DOJ said at the time of his arrest: “Charles F. McGonigal, 54, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field office, has been arrested on charges relating to his receipt of $225,000 in cash from an individual who had business interests in Europe and who had been an employee of a foreign intelligence service, while McGonigal was serving as Special Agent in Charge of FBI counterintelligence efforts in the New York Office. McGonigal retired from the FBI in September of 2018.

“According to the nine-count indictment, unsealed today, from August 2017, and continuing through and beyond his retirement from the FBI in September 2018, McGonigal concealed from the FBI the nature of his relationship with a former foreign security officer and businessperson who had ongoing business interests in foreign countries and before foreign governments. 

“Specifically, McGonigal requested and received at least $225,000 in cash from the individual and traveled abroad with the individual and met with foreign nationals.  The individual later served as an FBI source in a criminal investigation involving foreign political lobbying over which McGonigal had official supervisory responsibility. 

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“McGonigal is accused of engaging in other conduct in his official capacity as an FBI Special Agent in Charge that he believed would benefit the businessperson financially.  

“Covering up your contacts with foreign nationals and hiding your personal financial relationships is a gateway to corruption,” said U.S. Attorney Graves.

“The FBI should be commended for handling the delicate and difficult task of investigating a former executive. This investigation demonstrates their commitment to act as an impartial enforcer of the law. 

“The FBI and the Department will guard the best interests of the United States and hold to account those who make false statements and try to deceive the Bureau.”

“Mr. McGonigal betrayed his solemn oath to the United States in exchange for personal gain and at the expense of our national security,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Alway.

“A senior FBI executive at the time, McGonigal is alleged to have committed the very violations he swore to investigate while he purported to lead a workforce of FBI employees who spend their careers protecting secrets and holding foreign adversaries accountable.  Agents in my office, with the support of agents in Washington, D.C. and New York, vigorously pursued a former colleague without bias.”

“As an FBI agent, Charles McGonigal took an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Sundberg.

“In betrayal of that oath, McGonigal is alleged to have received money from a businessman with foreign business interests, to have concealed these payments, and to have lied about related foreign contacts and travel.

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“Integrity is one of the FBI’s core values and we hold our own to the highest standards.”

“The charge of falsification of records and documents carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The charge of making false statements carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count.

“The charges also carry potential financial penalties. The maximum statutory sentence for federal offenses is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” DOJ said.



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