Ex-FBI lawyer who falsified document in Trump-Russia probe seeks to avoid prison

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who falsified a document in the 2016 investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, is seeking to avoid prison time.

Clinesmith’s attorneys filed a 48-page sentencing memorandum on Thursday, USA Today reports, in which they are asking for him to be sentenced to probation. The former lawyer acknowledged he committed a crime but did not intend to mislead investigators.

"Kevin Clinesmith made a grievous mistake,” his attorneys wrote, according to USA Today. “By altering a colleague's email, he cut a corner in a job that required far better of him. He failed to live up to the FBI's and his own high standards of conduct.”


Clinesmith pleaded guilty in August to falsifying a document to justify surveilling former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as part of the 2016 probe.

He admitted to altering an email that said Page was not a source for the CIA, even though Page had had a relationship with the agency. That in turn allowed intelligence agencies to renew a warrant to monitor Page for potentially working with foreign powers.

Page filed a federal lawsuit last Friday alleging he was the victim of “unlawful spying” during the Russia investigation.

Clinesmith’s attorneys said he did not knowingly lie about Page’s relationship with the CIA, USA Today notes.

"When Kevin informed the agent (and others) that (Page) was not a source, he genuinely believed he was conveying accurate information," the attorneys said.

The attorneys also argued that Clinesmith has led a law-abiding life despite his mistake, according to the newspaper, and that the case has left his reputation “in shambles.”

Clinesmith’s case was the first of its kind stemming from U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamKevin Clinesmith did wrong, but why is he the FBI's fall guy? Not the FBI I remember: William Barnett's troubling interview Barr exit hints at further tumult under Trump MORE’s investigation. Attorney General William BarrBill BarrJustice Dept. blasts Mexico's decision to close probe of former defense minister Acting attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report MORE appointed Durham to lead the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Last year, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI was justified in investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but that there was “serious performance failures” on the part of the bureau’s chain of command.