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DOJ Calls for Prison Sentence for Ex-FBI Attorney Clinesmith Who Altered Email in FISA Request

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is seeking a prison sentence for the former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty in August to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Kevin Clinesmith admitted he doctored the email, which was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). 

Attorneys with special counsel John Durham are calling on a sentence of between two to six months, saying in a court filing that the case “filed public disgust of the FBI and entire” FISA program, The Washington Post reports.

“An attorney — particularly an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel — is the last person that FBI agents or this Court should expect to create a false document,” prosecutors Anthony Scarpelli and Neeraj N. Patel wrote. “This Court’s sentence should be designed, in part, to send a powerful message to the community that this type of conduct — falsifying information to hide facts from a court — will not be tolerated.”

Sentencing is set for Dec. 10. Clinestmith faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but the sentencing guidelines call for zero to six months behind bars. 

Clinestmith’s attorneys are requesting probation and community service. 

“By altering a colleague’s email, he cut a corner in a job that required far better of him. He failed to live up to the FBI’s and his own high standards of conduct,” lead Clinesmith defense attorney Justin V. Shur wrote in a sentencing request.

Clinestmith’s guilty plea stems from the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The email suggested that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

Clinesmith admitted he was guilty but said he believed at the time that his statement about Page was true.


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