The Skadden solicitor jailed as part of the FBI's investigation into collusion between Donald Trump's presidential campaign team and Russia has been struck off.
Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch national and BPP graduate who worked at the US firm's London office, admitted lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller about his contact with Trump campaign aide Robert Gates.
As an associate he worked on a report with (now ex-) Skadden partner Gregory Craig for the Ukraine government. But he was tipped off that, following a regime change, the country was now investigating Skadden for its work.
As a result, van der Zwaan recorded on his dictaphone calls to Gates and Craig discussing his concerns about the ramifications of the investigation. In email correspondence with Gates and since-convicted Trump ally Paul Manafort, he also entertained leaving Skadden to work for the pair.
When Mueller came calling, van der Zwaan found himself on a plane to Washington D.C. for an "intense" eight and half hour interview with the FBI and the Special Counsel's Office. Skadden was still representing him and, because he didn't want the firm to find out he was contemplating leaving, or sack him for secretly recording calls, he withheld the incriminating information. Unfortunately for van der Zwaan, the Special Counsel had some of it already, and presented it at the interview.
"And my next pick for Attorney General is..."
Afterwards, van der Zwaan came clean to Skadden and dug up copies of the emails and recordings stored on various devices including an a damaged iPhone. He handed all of it over to the firm and Mueller's team, along with passwords to his email accounts.
It wasn't enough. Skadden fired him for gross misconduct, and he was brought back to the States for another grilling and then tried.
"He was essentially caught red-handed” said Judge Jackson, who pronounced herself "not terribly moved" by his argument that he should not serve time in prison because he had already been stuck in his hotel room for months with nothing to do. Ruling that he was no "deer in headlights", she sentenced the 33-year-old to 30 days and a $20,000 fine.
In mitigation in the UK, van der Zwaan told the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal that he "panicked" when faced with the prospect of revealing his recorded calls and job musings to the FBI in front of his Skadden lawyers. But he accepted that he should be struck off, which he was. He was ordered to pay £3,095 costs.