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Ex-FBI lawyer Clinesmith gets no jail time in guilty plea for altering Carter Page FISA warrant doc

Clinesmith was sentenced to one year of probation by Judge James Boasberg of the D.C. District Court.

Updated: January 29, 2021 - 1:31pm

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced Friday to 12 months probation and 400 hours of community service for falsely altering a document that led to the FISA warrant of former 2016 Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Clinesmith pleaded guilty last summer to altering an email to falsely claim that Page had not previously been a CIA asset, despite CIA confirmation that he had been. Clinesmith is the only FBI employee charged so far in the investigation by Special Counsel John Durham into the Justice Department's now-discredited Russia collusion investigation.

Federal prosecutors were seeking jail time for Clinesmith, arguing that a harsh sentence would deter others from behaving in a similar manner during a government agency investigation.

"Anybody who's watched what Mr. Clinesmith has suffered is not someone who would readily act in that fashion," responded Judge James Boasberg of the D.C. District Court, in Washington.

Boasberg, who also presides over the FISA Court, said the warrant may still have been authorized, despite a number of other errors made in the application to surveil Page.

The FISA court is a secretive court in which federal prosecutors present evidence to be granted a permission to surveil a U.S. citizen.

"Even if Mr. Clinesmith had been accurate about Dr. Page's relationship with the other government agency, the warrant may well have been signed and the surveillance authorized," Boasberg said. 

Boasberg also said the Justice Department inspector general found that Clinesmith did not act out of political bias — notwithstanding a number of hostile messages about then-President Trump that he sent to his colleagues. 

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