Sentencing of Ex-FBI Lawyer Who Falsified Evidence in Crossfire Hurricane Investigation Delayed to Jan. 29

December 29, 2020 Updated: December 29, 2020

A federal judge has postponed the sentencing of Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty in August to falsifying evidence connected to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the D.C. District again rescheduled the sentencing, postponing it to Jan. 29, after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Clinesmith was first scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 10 before it was postponed to Jan. 7.

Kevin Clinesmith admitted on Aug. 19 to altering an email used in a FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page, an aide in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Clinesmith, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement and was charged as part of special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the 2016 FBI probe of whether individuals connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign were coordinating with the Russian government. The offense carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Barr appointed Durham in May last year to examine the origins of the FBI’s Russia-Trump collusion investigation, codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane.” Durham is looking to determine whether intelligence collection on Trump’s presidential campaign by top Obama-administration officials was “lawful and appropriate.”

The former FBI lawyer conceded that he had falsified the email he received, which was used to support an application to renew surveillance of Carter Page, by adding the words “not a source” for the Central Intelligence Agency and then forwarding the email to the FBI, even though the original email indicated otherwise.

The CIA had earlier told investigators in a memo that Page was an “operational contact” for the agency from 2008 to 2013 and provided information about his contacts with Russian intelligence officers.

An FBI agent then used the altered email to convince a judge that the bureau’s surveillance of Page must continue. The FBI conducted electronic and physical surveillance of Page from October 2016 through September 2017.

Clinesmith said he thought at the time he was inserting truthful information. However, in a 48-page sentencing memorandum (pdf) filed on Dec. 3, the former FBI lawyer’s attorneys said he knew the original email did not contain those additional words.

Clinesmith asked prosecutors to spare him a prison sentence, acknowledging he had committed a crime but did not mean to mislead investigators. His attorneys are asking a federal judge to sentence him to probation.

The sentencing range for Clinesmith is 0–6 months in prison but in their own sentencing memorandum, Durham and his prosecutors requested a sentence between the middle and high end of those guidelines.

Page on Nov. 27 filed a 59-page $75 million lawsuit in federal court in Washington against the Department of Justice and the FBI, alleging he was surveilled illegally as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between the campaign and Russian actors.

The lawsuit seeks relief for “multiple violations” of Page’s “Constitutional and other legal rights in connection with unlawful surveillance and investigation of him by the United States Government.”

Katabella Roberts and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.