OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:21 PM – Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Charles McGonigal, a former FBI agent who helped lead the investigation into Trump-Russia connections, is expected to plead guilty to charges of unlawfully working for a Russian oligarch.
In an ironic turn of events, one of the individuals who worked tirelessly to take down former President Donald Trump by falsely accusing him of secretly collaborating with Russian officials and hackers was, in fact, the one engaging with influential Russians at the time.
“The court has been informed that defendant Charles McGonigal may wish to enter a change of plea,” Manhattan federal Judge Jennifer Rearden wrote in a brief order filed on Monday.
McGonigal, 54, a former top FBI counterintelligence agent based in New York, was charged in January with money laundering and violating United States sanctions by working for a Russian oligarch and business magnate named Oleg Deripaska.
McGonigal even attempted to have Deripaska removed from the U.S. sanctions list.
The disgraced FBI agent was legally required to report his communication with foreign authorities to the FBI, but instead reportedly concealed the links by pursuing business and abroad trips that interfered with his duties.
McGonigal was among the first to be briefed on Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’s alleged conversation with an Australian diplomat, in which he claimed Russia had “scandalous information” regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails.
In July 2016, McGonigal did inform the FBI of this conversation.
An internal email from McGonigal on the subject sparked the investigation into conspiracies regarding the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. However, that investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, failed to uncover any sufficient evidence whatsoever to establish guilt.
According to The New York Post, the investigation lasted 22 months and cost taxpayers around $32 million.
McGonigal’s indictment described that while he working for the FBI, he acquired then-classified information that Deripaska was classified as a Russian oligarch intimately associated with the Kremlin and sanctioned by the U.S.
McGonigal was legally required to notify the FBI of his interaction with foreign authorities, which he failed to do by continuing to communicate with and doing business with Deripaska.
Deripaska is also reportedly a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the inquiry, Deripaska had planned for one of his children to be born in the United States in order to avoid the penalties imposed on him.
After leaving the bureau in 2019, he began working as a consultant for a law firm that a representative of Deripaska sought to employ in order to have the sanctions on his boss lifted.
McGonigal reportedly coordinated with another agent and a court interpreter working for Deripaska at his European properties to negotiate a deal and try to eliminate the penalties in exchange for monetary compensation.
McGonigal has been free on a $500,000 bond since his initial arrest in January, however, the former agent is reportedly being summoned to court again, where his lawyers have reportedly insinuated that he is planning to plead guilty to his crimes.
In a separate case, he was also charged in Washington, D.C., with concealing $225,000 in payments from a former member of Albania’s intelligence agency and holding a covert meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. In that case, he pleaded not guilty and the case is currently pending.
This is a developing story.
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