Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in prison

The Latest Trump celebrates 14-day sentence for former aide Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in prison
Glenn Montgomery | 08 September, 2018, 06:25

Since that time, the former campaign aide has been cooperating with investigators working with Robert Mueller on the Russian election interference probe.

His case was also the first to detail a member of the Trump campaign having knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election while it was ongoing.

Papadopoulos's sentence comes more than year after his July 2017 arrest for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the timing of his contacts with Joseph Mifsud, a professor with deep Russian contacts.

In court on Friday, prosecutor Andrew Goldstein said Papadopoulos's cooperation "didn't come close to the standard of substantial assistance". Others pleading guilty in the Mueller probe include former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Washington lobbyist Sam Patten. "The defendant's lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States", they wrote, noting that Mifsud left the U.S.in February 2017 and hasn't returned.

"Caught off-guard by an impromptu interrogation, Mr Papadopoulos misled investigators to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master", the statement said.

Told by the professor, Joseph Mifsud, that a Russian operative was "Putin's niece", Papadopoulos credulously repeated that assertion in an email to Trump campaign officials, prosecutors said.

Papadopoulos's attorney, Thomas M. Breen, went further, saying "the President of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could", by calling the investigation fake news and a witch hunt.

Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S Mueller III had asked the judge to sentence Papadopoulos to six months in prison, saying his false statements "were meant to harm the investigation, and did so".

The lawyers argued Papadopoulos lied as he was influenced by the President's aggressive sentiments on the probe. "I saw him sitting in one picture at a table with me - that's the only thing I know about him", he said, an apparently reference to a March 31, 2016, campaign meeting that Papadopoulos and Trump attended.

Prior to a campaign rally ahead of of Papadopoulos' sentencing, the president sought to distance himself from his one time campaign advisor.

Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump who was also a close campaign aide, pleaded guilty in December to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian Federation and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's investigation. He recalled how he and attorney Robert Stanley and Papadopoulos visited the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Chicago months ago and noticed the photos of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump hanging on the lobby wall.

In subsequent campaign communications, Papadopoulos was encouraged to pursue a Putin-Trump meeting.

Van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in a Pennsylvania prison and received a $20,000 fine.

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