One enemy of President Donald Trump is pleading for some judicial leniency.
Kevin Clinesmith, the ex-FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to lying so that he could get the legal go-ahead to spy on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, is now asking a judge not to send him to prison, the New York Post reported.
Possible jail time
In August, Clinesmith pleaded guilty to making false statements to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to renew a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Clinesmith altered an email to state that Page was “not a ‘source'” for the CIA in the past, while the original email had made clear that Page had indeed been a source for the agency.
This was discovered by U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the so-called Trump-Russia collusion investigation.
Clinesmith’s charge has been the only indictment made by Durham thus far.
For his actions, Clinesmith is facing up to five years in prison, although somewhere in the range of three to six months is more likely.
Clinesmith and his legal team are asking the judiciary to go easy on him.
Politico reported: “Clinesmith’s team, led by attorney Justin Shur, describes the ex-FBI lawyer’s conduct as a ‘grievous error’ that was the result of a decision to ‘cut a corner’ rather than to harm Page. His lawyers say he was under constant stress at the time of the decision to alter the email and that he believed he was conveying accurate information even if it was improperly added to another official’s email.”
Clinesmith’s lawyer argued, “In short, when Kevin altered the email in June 2017, he was spread thin and exhausted at work and in his personal life. That is no excuse. But it does help explain how Kevin came to do something so out of character.”
The prosecution, however, argued that what likely motivated Clinesmith to falsify the email was an animus toward President Trump. “It is plausible that his strong political views and/or personal dislike of the current President made him more willing to engage in the fraudulent and unethical conduct to which he has pled guilty,” reads a court filing from the prosecution.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg will sentence Clinesmith on Thursday.