Charles McGonigal is now one of the highest-ranking FBI officials to be charged with a crime, as he was arrested on Saturday alongside an ex-Russian diplomat.
The pair face money-laundering and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors say McGonigal worked secretly for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch.
The 54-year-old McGonigal entered a plea of not guilty at a federal courthouse in Manhattan on Monday after being charged with one count of violating U.S. sanctions, one count of money laundering and two conspiracy counts for what it said were attempts to aid Mr. Deripaska.
The second man also entered a not guilty plea in Manhattan. Sergey Shestakov, 69, was a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who became an American citizen.
In Washington D.C., McGonigal was charged with taking $225,000 in secret cash payments from a person who decades earlier had served with Albanian intelligence. The payments were accepted while he was working for the FBI.
McGonigal served in the F.B.I. for more than two decades, working in Russian counterintelligence, organized crime and counterespionage.
McGonigal while serving as chief of the cybercrimes section at the FBI in Washington, DC, was among the first FBI officials to be made aware of allegations that George Papadopoulos, a 2016
covfefe boy campaign adviser for Trump, boasted that he knew Russians had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
An e-mail from McGonigal regarding Papadopoulos was the basis for opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation headed by Robert Mueller.
Of course Mueller ended the investigation noting there was no criminal evidence of Trump collusion with Russia, but several instances of Trump obstructing the investigation.
Oleg Deripaska was also a client of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, who was convicted of tax and bank fraud.
Trump on Truth Social: “The FBI guy after me for the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, long before my Election as President, was just arrested for taking money from Russia, Russia, Russia. May he Rot In Hell!”