The hidden side of politics

Disgraced ex-FBI official in Trump-Russia probe asks court for more time to resolve criminal charges

Reported by Washington Times:

The disgraced former FBI official who was once part of the bureau’s Trump-Russia collusion probe has asked a federal court in Washington, D.C. for more time to negotiate a plea deal on charges that he violated U.S. sanctions while conspiring with a Russian oligarch.

Charles McGonigal, the former head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York, filed a motion over the weekend waiving his right to a speedy trial “to provide parties additional time to negotiate a potential resolution of this case” ahead of a Sept. 21 status conference.

He also requested that the time from Sept. 13 through Sept. 21 be excluded from the calculation of when a potential trial could violate his right to a speedy trial so an agreement can be reached.

Prosecutors did not object to the request, according to a proposed order that McGonigal’s lawyers filed with the court.

McGonigal is the fourth major FBI figure from the Trump-Russia collusion probe to face criminal charges or end up under investigation. He was charged in separate indictments in New York and Washington accusing him of illegally accepting payments for his work with Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

Last month, McGonigal pleaded guilty in New York to a single count of conspiring to launder money and violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for his work to get Mr. Deripaska removed from the U.S. sanction list. He faces up to five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced in New York on Dec. 14.

Although McGonigal had initially pleaded not guilty to the Washington charges, the latest court filings suggest that his legal team is working with federal prosecutors to reach a plea deal.

A nine-count indictment accused McGonigal of falsifying records and documents. It said he made false statements to conceal a $225,000 payment from a former member of Albania’s intelligence service and took a secret meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama while he still worked for the FBI.

He was legally required to report his contact with foreign officials to the bureau. Instead, he hid his ties and pursued lucrative business arrangements that conflicted with his job, prosecutors said.

Mr. Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate with ties to President Vladimir Putin, has been investigated by U.S. officials for money laundering, wiretapping, threats against business rivals, extortion, and racketeering.

As prosecutors tell it, then-FBI official McGonigal and Sergey Shestakov, a court interpreter based in New York, agreed in 2021 to investigate one of Mr. Deripaska’s rivals in exchange for payments. Both defendants are accused of receiving payments through shell companies and forging signatures to keep Mr. Deripaska’s payments secret.

McGonigal made at least $25,000 as an investigator for the law firm before directly working for Mr. Deripaska. He received an initial payment of $51,000 and then payments of $41,790 each month for three months from August 2021 to November 2021, the indictment said.

Source:Washington Times