Carter Page asks to speak at sentencing for FBI lawyer who altered email in Russia probe

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Former Trump campaign aide Carter Page on Sunday petitioned a federal court to speak as a victim at the sentencing hearing for an ex-FBI lawyer who falsified an email to justify surveillance of Mr. Page.

If he is permitted to speak, Mr. Page will detail how the FBI’s bungling of the Trump-Russia election collusion probe has impacted his life.

In court filings, Mr. Page asserted his right to be heard under the Crime Victims Rights Act (CVRA), a federal law that allows crime victims to confront their perpetrators at sentencing.

“Dr. Page asserts that he satisfies the statutory definition of victim found in both the CVRA and the restitution and the case law interpreting those sections, and is entitled to the rights thereunder,” his lawyer wrote.

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Cinesmith is set to be sentenced Thursday in a federal court in Washington.

A four-year FBI employee, Clinesmith pled guilty in August to doctoring an email to support a federal court application to wiretap Mr. Page. At the time, the FBI was in the early stages of probing ties between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russians who interfered in that year’s election.

Clinesmith changed the email to say that Mr. Page was “not a source” for the CIA, even though the email from the CIA maintained that he was a source for the agency.

The FBI then relied on that altered email to convince a judge that the bureau must continue to monitor Mr. Page.

The FBI had wiretapped Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, for more than a year, starting in October 2016. Bureau officials had suspected he was a recruitment target of Russian intelligence.

No evidence was uncovered linking Mr. Page to Kremlin meddling, and he has never been charged with a crime. He ultimately was exonerated by special counsel Robert Mueller, who concluded that the Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russian government.

Although Clinesmith has acknowledged changing the email, his attorneys have maintained that at the time “he genuinely believed he was conveying accurate information.”

Clinesmith’s attorneys have asked a federal judge to sentence him to probation, maintaining that he did not mean to mislead investigators.

The case is the first public prosecution brought by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia collusion probe.

The request to address the court in the Clinesmith case is the latest move by Mr. Page to address FBI wrongdoing in the Russia probe.

Mr. Page last month filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Justice Department, the FBI and a slew of bureau officials including Clinesmith, saying he was unlawfully surveilled.

The 59-page lawsuit also named as defendants former FBI Director James B. Comey, former Assistant Director Andrew McCabe, former agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

 

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