George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, will be in DC District Court this afternoon facing sentencing for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian nationals during the period in which he was an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5, 2017 after being charged with making “material false statements and material omissions during an interview” with the FBI on January 27, 2017.
CNN reports that Papadopoulos has asked for “extreme leniency”, stating in a memo to the judge that he had no idea the seriousness of his actions.
He was barely qualified for his role as a foreign policy adviser in a campaign focused on improving relations with Russia, his lawyers wrote. A meeting he suggested between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin during the campaign never happened. And he never realized the seriousness of a mysterious European professor telling him that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Even when FBI agents first approached him at his mother’s house in January last year, Papadopoulos didn’t realize the conversation would turn to Russian interference in the presidential election.CNN
The defense has asked for a year of probation.
The prosecution has asked for a sentence of up to six months and a fine of $9,500, alleging Papadopoulos stymied an investigation into a threat to national security and his lies prevented them from being able to question the professor Joseph Mifsud who knew about Russia’s compromising information about Hillary Clinton. The special counsel’s office also maintains that Papadopoulos has not provided substantial assistance since being arrested and was warned of the consequences of lying to the FBI.
“The sentence imposed here should reflect the fact that lying to federal investigators has real consequences, especially where the defendant lied to investigators about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance, after having been explicitly warned that lying to the FBI was a federal offense,” the prosecutors added.CNN
After the surprise guilty plea was announced on October 30, 2017, President Trump tweeted, “Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.” Trump surrogates dismissed Papadopoulos’ importance to the campaign in spite of Trump telling the Washington Post during the campaign that Papadopoulos was “an excellent guy” when listing him as a member of Trump’s foreign policy team.
In the pre-sentencing filing, Papadopoulos and his legal team pushed back at the administration’s dismissal of him, contradicting Attorney General Jeff Session’s congressional testimony on the matter.
“While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions, who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it,” they wrote in the August filing, referring to Jeff Sessions, who at the time was a Republican senator from Alabama and a key campaign surrogate.
The detail runs counter to testimony Sessions, now attorney general, delivered before the House Judiciary Committee last November. At the time, he said he “pushed back” on the idea of the meeting with the Russian government. A Justice Department spokesman said Sessions stands by his congressional testimony. Trump’s personal lawyers were not available to comment on the claim about the president.The Hill
Papadopoulos will become the first individual directly affiliated with the Trump campaign to be sentenced.
Alex Van der zwaan, a Dutch attorney associated with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates who pleaded guilty but was not involved in the campaign, has served his 30 day sentence. Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and awaits both sentencing and his second trial due to begin on September 24 in DC. Rick Gates has pleaded guilty, is cooperating with the special counsel’s office, and awaits sentencing. Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to eight counts and awaits his sentencing as well.
According to Newsweek, the 31 year old Papadopoulos will be sentenced by Judge Randolph Moss this afternoon at 3:00.
Per CNN, George Papadopoulos has been sentenced to 14 days in jail, a fine of $9,500, 200 hours of community service, and a year of supervision.
He becomes the first Trump associate to be sentenced.