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George Papadopoulos Sentenced to 14 Days in Jail for Lying to FBI in Mueller Probe
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=36502"><span class="small">Brad Heath, USA TODAY</span></a>   
Saturday, 08 September 2018 08:13

Heath writes: "Papadopoulos is the first former Trump aide to be sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. Three others have either pleaded guilty or been convicted."

Papadopoulos is the first campaign aide sentenced in Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation. (photo: Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
Papadopoulos is the first campaign aide sentenced in Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation. (photo: Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

George Papadopoulos Sentenced to 14 Days in Jail for Lying to FBI in Mueller Probe

By Brad Heath, USA TODAY

08 September 18


federal judge sentenced George Papadopoulos, a onetime aide to President Donald Trump’s campaign, to two weeks in prison and a $9,500 fine on Friday for lying to federal agents about conversations in which he was told that the Russian government had obtained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

"I made a terrible mistake for which I paid dearly and I am terribly ashamed," Papadopoulos said at his sentencing hearing. "My entire life has been turned upside down."

Papadopoulos is the first former Trump aide to be sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. Three others have either pleaded guilty or been convicted.

Papadopoulos admitted last year that he lied to the FBI about interactions in which people he thought were linked to the Russian government described Moscow having “thousands of emails” with damaging information about Clinton. The exchanges came shortly after he joined Trump's campaign and months before U.S. authorities learned that Russian intelligence officers had stolen troves of emails from Democratic political organizations. When they came to light, they triggered the investigation that has loomed over the first two years of Trump’s presidency.

Papadopoulos' lawyer Thomas Breen had asked for leniency for his client. He emphasized that Papadopoulos' lies to investigators came a week after Trump's inauguration, at a time when the onetime policy aide was seeking a senior role in the administration and the president had begun dismissing the Russia investigation as a lie.

"The president of the United States, the commander in chief, had told the world that this was fake news and a witch hunt," Breen said. "The president of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could."

Prosecutors had told Judge Randolph Moss that Papadopoulos should spend up to six months in prison.

His crime, they said in a court filing last month, “was serious and caused damage to the government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

Moss said he had been considering a 30-day prison sentence but said at Friday's hearing that Papadopoulos had shown "genuine remorse."

Instead, he sentenced Papadopoulos to spend 14 days in prison and another year under the supervision of a probation officer, and required him to perform 200 hours of community service. Papadopoulos' lie, Moss said, was "a serious offense" and "a calculated exercise of self interest over the national interest."

The charges centered on an interview in January 2017 in which FBI agents asked Papadopoulos about his conversations with Joseph Misfud, a professor he believed had connections to Moscow. Papadopoulos told the agents, falsely, that his conversations with Misfud happened before he joined Trump’s campaign in March 2016 and that he did not think they were important. Prosecutors said in a court filing that Papadopoulos’ “lies negatively affected the FBI’s Russia investigation, and prevented the FBI from effectively identifying and confronting witnesses in a timely fashion.”

Partly as a result, they said, agents were unable to “effectively question” Misfud when he visited the United States two weeks later. “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.

Papadopoulos’ lawyers had urged Moss to sentence him to probation. In a court filing last month, they described Papadopoulos as “ashamed and remorseful” but said he never derailed the Russia investigation. Instead, they said, Papadopoulos “misled investigators to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master.”

Breen said Friday that Papadopoulos lied because he was still giddy from his rapid ascent in Trump's campaign, his hopes of securing a job in the new administration and a sense of loyalty to the president. "The message is for all of us to check our own loyalty, to tell the truth, to help the good guys."

Minutes later, Trump seemed to claim vindication. "4 days for $28 MILLION - $2 MILLION a day," he wrote on Twitter, an apparent, if inflated, estimation of the Russia investigation's cost. "No Collusion. A great day for America!"

Papadopoulos has been a central figure in the Russia investigation since it began. The FBI launched its investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign after learning that Papadopoulos had boasted to an Australian diplomat that the Russian government had political dirt on Clinton more than a month before Moscow’s hacking efforts were known publicly.

For a time, Papadopoulos also looked to be a key informant. A federal court kept his July 2017 arrest secret for more than two months after Mueller’s office argued that making it public would “significantly undermine his ability to serve as a proactive cooperator.”

But in a court filing last month, prosecutors said Papadopoulos ultimately did little to aid their work. Instead, prosecutor Andrew Goldstein said he made "at best grudging efforts to cooperate, and we don't think they were substantial or significant in any regard."

Two other Trump aides – former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former national security adviser Mike Flynn – also pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation but haven’t been sentenced. Another, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was found guilty of tax and bank fraud charges last month and is awaiting another trial in Washington.

Moss said Papadopoulos will remain free until the federal Bureau of Prisons decides when and where he should surrender. After the hearing, he rode the elevator to the first floor of the federal courthouse, put on a pair of dark sunglasses and strode past a clutch of reporters shouting questions. your social media marketing partner
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 September 2018 08:49


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-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-08 09:20
This article does not mention that Papadopolus' attorneys informed the judge that he was set up by Stefan Halper and others working for the CIA and MI6. The judged asked the prosecution for all of their "evidence" against Papadopolus. There was talk of Papadopolus changing his plea to innocent a demanding discovery of all Mueller's evidence. That would have been the nightmare scenario for Mueller. So it would appear that 14 days and a chump change fine was too good for Papadopolus to turn down.

Flynn is in the same situation. There seems to be good exculpatory evidence that Mueller is hiding. The judge has asked for it. He make get two weeks as well.

So this is the great Russia conspiracy to sow discord across the US and take control of the 2016 election. This is what it adds up to. Manafort's convictions were for things that happened in 2005 and had nothing to do with Russia. Russiagate is turning out to be what Van Jones called it -- a "nothing burger." How come Van Jones works for CNN and he knew this but no one else at CNN knew it. And all the wasted ink at the NYT and Wapo? They led us to think Papadopolus was in for a 30 year sentence.
+1 # librarian1984 2018-09-08 10:57
This is what RR and others have been saying. These are all Republcans, including Mueller.

They will not prosecute, and if they do they won't get charged with anything too serious, and if they do they won't get serious sentences.

Even if they find something on Trump they will give him a slap on the wrist -- unless the GOP establishment decides it's time to get rid of him.

Any sign of integrity or justice coming from DC is an illusion. We are living in a time of the absolute and total corruption of both parties. There could be children dying in the streets outside Congress or the WH and no one would care.
-1 # Anne Frank 2018-09-08 15:57
Once again we have evidence that Republican insiders lied to the FBI. Still not a shred of evidence that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election. But when warmongers need to whip up hate to promote their wars, facts always yield to spin.
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-09-09 06:34
lib -- "These are all Republcans, including Mueller."

This is true. But there is a unique relationship between all of these people and Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. You have to throw in Loretta Lynch and Sally Yates, who are democrats. As far back as 2003-04, Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, Weissman were doing the same things for the Clinton Foundation that they are now -- covering up for the Clintons by shifting investigations to others. They were all involved in the Uranium One deal.

Someday, a good investigative journalist will dig into this relationship. Clearly Rosenstein chose Mueller because of his past work for the Clintons. We know republicans are corrupt as hell and will take bribes from anyone. That may be what accounts for Russiagate!

It is quite laughable that the lynchpin of the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy, the guy who set the FBI into action, gets two weeks in jail for telling a lie that was not even a lie. $25 million spent by the Mueller Probe so far and probably billions in media time and we get two weeks in jail.
+1 # Texas Aggie 2018-09-09 17:54
On one hand this will give other potential witnesses more encouragement to collaborate with Mr. Mueller. If they look at what happened to Papadopoulos and compare that with what happened to Manafort, they may decide that there's no downside to cooperating.