Mueller prosecutors say prison is optional for George Papadopoulos in Russian Federation probe

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Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy advisor to Trump's 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in October to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russians.

"Mueller's sentencing memo says that Papadopoulos" crime was serious, and that his lies damaged the government's investigation.

"The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed, but respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration, within the applicable guidelines range of 0 to 6 months' imprisonment, is appropriate and warranted", Mueller wrote on Friday in a government sentencing memorandum to the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Prosecutors also detail a series of hard interviews with Papadopoulos after he was arrested in July 2017, saying he didn't provide "substantial assistance" to the investigation. That is the scenario spelled out by Russian Federation investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a sentencing memorandum for Papadopoulos filed Friday in a Washington D.C. federal court.

The Maltese professor who gained global notoriety as the person who allegedly connected Trump's campaign with the Russians to destroy rival contestant Hillary Clinton may have escaped the United States and thus an FBI investigation due to lies told by Trump's ex aide.

He had also triggered the initial counterintelligence probe into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election by revealing to an Australian diplomat, during a night of heavy drinking at a London bar in May 2016, that Russian Federation had political dirt on Clinton.

Special counsel prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Papadopoulos to up to six months in prison, according to a court filing on Friday.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last October to one count of making false statements, admitting in court papers that he lied about the nature of his interactions with "foreign nationals" he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials.

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Trump has dismissed Papadopoulos as a low-level volunteer whose actions should not reflect on the campaign.

According to his plea agreement, Papadopoulos admitted to lying about the timing of his contacts with a professor, Joseph Mifsud, in London.

One of the big mysteries is who in the Trump campaign Papadopoulos may have told about the Russians allegedly possessing Clinton-related emails.

Papadopoulos's legal team will file their own sentencing assessment to the court in two weeks, and is expected to ask for probation.

Papadopoulos's wife, Simona Mangiante, is urging her husband to break off the plea deal and stop cooperating with Mueller. The Australians passed the information to the United States and, in July 2016, the FBI opened its investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. In April, a judge sentenced him to 30 days in prison.

With the intent of harming the investigation, Papadopoulos "repeatedly lied throughout the interview in order to hide the timing and significance of information the defendant had received regarding the Russians possessing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, as well as his own outreach to Russia on behalf of the campaign", they explained. He exchanged emails with top officials during the campaign and presidential transition, including former top adviser Stephen Bannon and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"Had the defendant told the Federal Bureau of Investigation the truth when he was interviewed in January 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could have quickly taken numerous investigative steps to help determine, for example, how and where the Professor obtained the information, why the Professor provided the information to the defendant, and what the defendant did with the information after receiving it", the filing said.

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