by SIMON KENT at breitbart.com
A disgraced former senior FBI agent involved in the agency’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign based on phony allegations of collusion with Russia is expected to plead guilty to illegally working for a sanctioned oligarch when his case is heard next week, a Manhattan federal court filing outlines.
ABC News reports Charles McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York field office, is scheduled for a “plea proceeding” Aug. 15, according to a judge’s order.
The 54-year-old is accused by U.S. prosecutors of working for sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and the change in plea is related to criminal charges of evading U.S. sanctions and money laundering.
McGonigal, one of the highest-ranking FBI officials ever criminally charged, served as a top agency counterintelligence official in New York during the Russia probe of former President Donald Trump.
The Daily Mail reports McGonigal’s attorney Seth DuCharme used a status conference last week to explain there was a “decent chance the case is going to be resolved.”
Prosecutors in January said McGonigal, who retired in 2018, received concealed payments from Deripaska in exchange for investigating a rival oligarch and unsuccessfully pushed in 2019 to lift U.S. sanctions on Deripaska, as Breitbart News reported.
The charges against McGonigal came as U.S. prosecutors ramped up efforts to enforce sanctions on Russian officials and police their alleged enablers in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Deripaska, the founder of Russian aluminum company Rusal and once Russia’s richest man, was among two dozen Russian oligarchs and government officials blacklisted by Washington in 2018.
The U.S. Treasury Department said Deripaska was being investigated for money laundering, extortion and racketeering, alongside alleged ties to Russian organized crime and murder.
McGonigal has also been charged in a separate case in Washington, DC, with concealing $225,000 he allegedly received from a former Albanian intelligence employee. His attorney said during a hearing last week he expects that case to also be resolved without going to trial.
No further details were included in the brief court order setting the plea proceeding. It could be rescheduled if a plea change doesn’t happen.read more