Crooked FBI Special Agent Who Investigated Trump-Russia Hoax Faces Additional Prison Time — Sentenced to Over 2 Years for Concealing Payment from Albanian Businessman

Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

Charles F. McGonigal, a former high-ranking FBI official who once played a pivotal role in the controversial Trump-Russia collusion investigation, was sentenced on Friday to an additional 28 months in federal prison.

McGonigal, 55, faced the judicial consequences for failing to disclose a substantial sum of $225,000 he received from an Albanian businessman connected to the Albanian government.

The sentencing was made public by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, alongside FBI Assistant Directors Donald Alway of the Los Angeles Field Office and David Sundberg of the Washington Field Office.

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly handed down the sentence, which also includes a three-year term of supervised release after McGonigal’s imprisonment.

McGonigal was previously the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, a role in which he was responsible for, among other duties, counterintelligence investigations.

In September, McGonigal admitted that he received at least $225,000 in cash from a person with whom he also traveled internationally, during which they met with foreign citizens. This person later became an informant for the FBI in a criminal case concerning foreign political lobbying, a case over which McGonigal had supervisory authority.

The court recognized that his actions significantly obstructed the administration of justice.

As the Special Agent in Charge for the FBI’s New York Field Office, McGonigal had a significant role in overseeing matters of national security and counterintelligence from August 2017 until his retirement in September 2018.

“During this time, McGonigal concealed from the FBI the nature of his relationship with a former foreign security officer and businessperson who had ongoing business interests in foreign countries and before foreign governments. Specifically, McGonigal hid from the FBI that he received at least $225,000 in cash from the individual and traveled abroad with him and met with foreign nationals, in-part to advance their private business interests,” according to the DOJ.

This sentence follows his prior conviction for charges unrelated to the current case.

The Gateway Pundit reported in December that McGonigal was sentenced to 50 months in prison, with an additional $40,000 fine, in the Southern District of New York for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to engage in money laundering.

McGonigal was arrested on January 21, 2023 at J.F.K. International Airport in New York for conspiring with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch sanctioned by the U.S. government.

His guilty plea in August followed a detailed investigation revealing his agreement in 2021 to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, including attempting to have him removed from the U.S. sanctions list in 2019.

“After his tenure as a high-level FBI official who supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, Charles McGonigal has now admitted that he agreed to evade U.S. sanctions by providing services to one of those oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York in a statement.

“This office will continue to hold to account those who violate U.S. sanctions for their own financial benefit.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams highlighted the gravity of McGonigal’s betrayal, noting, “Charles McGonigal violated the trust his country placed in him by using his high-level position at the FBI to prepare for his future in business. Once he left public service, he jeopardized our national security by providing services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian tycoon who acts as Vladimir Putin’s agent.  Today’s sentence is a reminder that anyone who violates United States sanctions — particularly those in whom this country has placed its trust — will pay a heavy penalty.”

Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch condemned McGonigal’s conduct as a clear act of betrayal.

“Charles McGonigal’s conduct can be summed up in one word – betrayal. He betrayed everything he once swore to protect. Today’s sentencing is a message to all, no matter who they are, the FBI does not tolerate those who choose to jeopardize US National Security. Prioritizing personal gains over one’s oath to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

According to the DOJ, the 28-month sentence announced on Friday is not a reprieve but an extension, set to run consecutively with the previous 50-month term ordered by the Southern District of New York. The former FBI agent is expected to serve a total of over six years in federal prison.

McGonigal’s case has gained notoriety not only for his recent criminal activities but also for his earlier role in the FBI.

He was a key figure in initiating the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into the now-debunked collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

This investigation, which sought to uncover alleged coordinated efforts to ‘influence the election’ and which eventually did not find any evidence to establish that collusion took place, became one of the most outrageous investigations of a sitting president in US history.

When serving as the chief of the cybercrimes section at the FBI’s Washington, DC headquarters, McGonigal was one of the first officials to receive intelligence regarding claims that George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser for President Trump, had alleged that the Russians had compromising information on Hillary Clinton.

Which is according to investigative reporters Michael Schellenberger and Matt Taibbi, the Russian Collusion story was not the result of foreign intelligence tips but rather a deliberate setup by the CIA under the Obama administration.

“It came from within the US government’s intelligence community, including the CIA, that they asked the so-called Five Eyes nations’ intelligence agencies—that’s the other English-speaking nations, including Britain and Australia—to spy on 26 Trump associates, or at least they had a list of the 26 associates that were identified.”

“This is new information. Some people have theorized about this and speculated about it. We feel very confident that our sources were in a position to know and are very credible in this report. And it’s obviously a very serious allegation because this is illegal spying and it’s illegal election interference,” Schellenberger added.

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