People indicted, convicted, investigated in Trump-Russia probe

08 September, 2018, 06:27 | Author: Bert Pena
  • George Papadopoulos and wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos after their Chicago wedding

Papadopoulos is the first former campaign aide to be sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

Papadopoulos has cooperated for more than a year with Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

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.

Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor told Papadopoulos that the Russians had "dirt" on Trump's Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails".

In court on Friday, prosecutor Andrew Goldstein said Papadopoulos's cooperation "didn't come close to the standard of substantial assistance".

Alex Van der Zwaan, a lawyer who once worked closely with Manafort and Gates, pleaded guilty in February to lying to Mueller's investigators about contacts with an official in the Trump election campaign.

In addition to the prison time, Mr. Papadopoulos was sentenced to one year of supervised release and 200 hours of community service.

US District Judge Randolph Moss on Friday sentenced Papadopoulos to 14 days, noting that he "lied in an investigation that was important to national security".

As noted by USA Today, authorities thought that Papadopoulos could serve as a key informant, but it quickly became clear that was not the case.

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The president told reporters on Air Force One on Friday that "I don't know Papadopoulos".

Papdopoulos's lawyer Tom Breen said "the president of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever did".

The charges he pleaded guilty to carry a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison, but prosecutors had recommended just 6 months, citing his extensive cooperation.

Prosecutors say those false statements, made during a January 2017 interview with federal investigators, led the FBI to miss an opportunity to interview Mifsud while he was in the United States in early 2017.

In his time with the Trump campaign, the delicacy of Papadopoulos's mission to broker a meeting between Trump and Putin was not always reflected in his conduct.

"People point and snicker and I am terribly depressed", he said.

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. In court papers, Breen wrote that during a March 2016 meeting attended by Papadopoulos, Trump nodded with approval at the idea, and then-Senator Jeff Sessions "appeared to like" it and said the campaign "should look into it".

The memo went on to say that Papadopoulos was "ashamed and remorseful", but he did not always seem that way on social media.

Before the sentence was read, Papadopoulos' defense attorney, Thomas Breen, pointed fingers at Trump. He received a sentence of 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine.

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