An agreement was reached between the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Washington, D.C., and former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, which stated that Clinesmith's law license should be suspended for just one year after receiving only probation for falsifying a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) document during the Trump-Russia investigation.
The agreement also said that Clinesmith’s admitted criminality does not represent “moral turpitude,” according to The Washington Examiner.
Clinesmith admitted last summer that he falsified a document while the FBI was trying to renew FISA surveillance authority against Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, where he edited an email in 2017 saying Page was “not a source” for the CIA, even though the CIA had told the FBI numerous times that Page had been an “operational contact” for them.
The former FBI lawyer, who worked on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the FBI’s Trump-Russia inquiry, and on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, was sentenced to probation in January.
The Examiner notes that Clinesmith’s lawyers and disciplinary counsel signed a petition for negotiated discipline and said that they “agree that the sanction to be imposed in this matter is a one-year suspension,” after a review of how to handle the ex-FBI lawyer’s standing with the D.C. bar. The suspension would apply retroactively from the month of his original guilty plea, August 2020. The District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility will hold a hearing next month, in which it can either approve or reject the agreement
The bar documents say that Clinesmith’s crime “does not involve moral turpitude per se,” and that even though Clinesmith “admitted knowingly altering an email to include information that was not originally in the email and sending it to the SSA as if the information was originally in the email, thereby knowingly and willfully using a false writing knowing the same to contain a materially false entry thereon… Disciplinary Counsel would be unable to prove by clear and convincing evidence that his conduct rose to the level of moral turpitude.”
The documents also note that there are “mitigating factors,” such as Clinesmith’s taking of full responsibility for his actions and his demonstrating remorse.
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