Former Top FBI Official in “Russiagate” Probe Sentenced for Foreign Conspiracy Charges


Charles McGonigal, a key figure in the investigation into Donald Trump, receives a four-year prison sentence and $40,000 fine for aiding a Russian oligarch.

In a development related to the “Russiagate” probe into former President Donald Trump, a former top FBI counterintelligence official, Charles McGonigal, was sentenced on Thursday for charges of foreign conspiracy, as reported by The Washington Post.

McGonigal had previously pleaded guilty in August to allegations of assisting a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, in exchange for undisclosed payments, according to the Wall Street Journal. The former FBI official received a four-year federal prison sentence and a $40,000 fine in a Manhattan court, The Post stated. During his sentencing, McGonigal expressed remorse, acknowledging, “I recognize more than ever that I’ve betrayed the confidence and trust of those close to me. For the rest of my life, I will be fighting to regain that trust.”

The charges against McGonigal stem from his association with Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch, from whom he accepted payments to gather open-source research against a rival. In addition, McGonigal was charged with receiving $225,000 from a former Albanian intelligence officer. He is scheduled to face sentencing for these charges in February 2024, according to Reuters.

Former FBI agent Jim DiOrio expressed no sympathy for McGonigal, stating, “I have no patience or sympathy for this guy. He saw an opportunity and he took advantage.” McGonigal played a role in the Crossfire Hurricane probe, commonly known as the “Russiagate” investigation, which looked into the Trump campaign in 2016. The investigation, costing $32 million over 22 months, ultimately found no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia to influence the 2016 election.

McGonigal’s involvement in a “classified defensive briefing” given to Hillary Clinton’s attorneys in 2015 drew criticism for what Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham deemed a “clear double standard by the Department of Justice” in 2020.

Earlier in his career, McGonigal gained recognition for thwarting a plot to bomb the New York City metro in 1997. He also contributed to the FBI’s post-9/11 investigation and worked on a task force focused on foreign terror threats in New York City. The FBI has not immediately responded to requests for comment on the sentencing.

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