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Lone official nabbed in Durham investigation avoids prison sentence

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The former FBI lawyer admitted to altering an email about Carter Page

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The lone official charged in the Justice Department's investigation into the origins of the Russian collusion probe was able to avoid prison when sentenced on Friday.

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith admitted to altering an email that served as evidence to support the surveillance of Trump campaign officials.

On Friday he was sentenced to 12 months probation and 400 hours community service.

Supporters and allies of former President Donald Trump hoped the DOJ investigation headed up by special counsel John Durham would uncover evidence that former President Barack Obama illegally used the power of his office to surveil the Trump campaign.

Clinesmith was charged with improperly altering an email that would have lessened the case in favor of surveilling Carter Page, who played a minor role in the 2016 Trump campaign.

A lawyer for Clinesmith explained in August that he had not made the alteration in bad faith, but only to save himself a procedural hassle.

"Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email," said attorney Justin Shur to the Associated Press. "It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues, as he believed the information he relayed was accurate, but Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility."

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg said during sentencing that he believed Clinesmith's explanation.

"My view of the evidence is that Mr. Clinesmith likely believed that what he said about Mr. Page was true," said Boasberg during a video hearing. "By altering the email, he was saving himself some work and taking an inappropriate shortcut."

Investigators had also found evidence that Clinesmith bore a personal and political animus against Trump.

"I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost," said Clinesmith in a text message to another official soon after Trump was elected.

He added in another text, "viva le resistance."

Here's when Clinesmith first admitted guilt in the probe:

Ex-FBI lawyer to plead guilty in first criminal case arising from Durham probe: AP www.youtube.com

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