Trump Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos Was Just Sentenced to 14 Days in Prison

“The president of the United States hindered the investigation more than George Papadopolous ever could,” his lawyer says.

George Papadopoulos, and his wife Simona Mangiante arrive at federal court for sentencing on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018.Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

A federal judge sentenced George Papadopoulos, who served as a forign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, to 14 days in prison on Friday.

The sentence makes Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with individuals linked to the Russian government, the first Trump associate sentenced as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Trump campaign coordination with Russia in 2016

Papadopolous has admitted that he misled FBI agents by downplaying his interactions with Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor suspected of acting as a Russian agent and with a woman who Mifsud falsely told Papadopoulos was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s niece. According to prosecutors, Mifsud told Papadopoulos in March 2016 that the Russians possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton that included “thousands of emails.” 

Papadopoulos tried to use his contacts with Mifsud and Russians the academic put him in touch with to set up a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin, an effort he pursued for months. In a memo submitted to the court earlier this month, his lawyers claimed that Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was a top foreign policy advisor to Trump, encouraged Papadopoulos’ outreach to his Russian contacts. That claim contradicts Sessions’ assertions that he opposed the aide’s plan.

Prosecutors in Mueller’s office have said that by lying to agents, Papadopoulos “undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.” And they argued that Papadopoulos did not provide them with significant assistance and only told the truth after they confronted him with evidence contradicting his claims.

Appearing in court on Friday, Papadopoulus acknowledged that he may have impeded the probe. “I was not honest, and I might have hindered the investigation,” he said. But his lawyer, Thomas Breen, faulted Trump for stymying the ongoing inquiry. “The president of the United States hindered the investigation more than George Papadopolous ever could,” he said.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest