Ex-campaign aide of Trump jailed in Russian Federation probe

10 September, 2018, 13:18 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Former Donald Trump presidential campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos could have been given a bigger sentence

Papadopoulos was the second person ordered to prison in the sprawling, 16-month Russian Federation collusion investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In delivering his sentence Federal Judge Randolph Moss said he did "get the sense that [Papadopoulos] does feel remorse and not simply for getting caught".

"The candidate (Trump) gave a nod, but did not commit either way", he said.

Papadopoulos was the key to discovering that, the government says. "I might have, but I have no recollection of doing so".

Thomas Breen, Papadopoulos's lawyer, admitted that his client had been "naive" and "a fool", but he also cast blame on President Trump.

But the attorney said "the president of the United States hindered this investigation more than Papadopoulos ever could".

Papadopoulos said he remembered a great deal from that meeting with Downer, which he described as confrontational, but he had no memory of discussing the dirt about Clinton.

At another point, Breen talked about going to the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in Chicago in February 2017 and seeing a picture of Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the wall.

Papadopoulos has asked the judge for extreme leniency.

President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly downplayed Papadopoulos role on the campaign
ANDREW HARNIK AP President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly downplayed Papadopoulos' role on the campaign

While Papadopoulos deserved a harsher punishment than probation, the judge said, he also deserved credit for trying to cooperate and for his apparent contrition. Mifsud's current whereabouts are unknown, and Papadopoulos has denied telling anyone else from the president's campaign about Mifsud's claims. However, he did not submit to the judge any letters from friends and family that spoke to his personal character or supported his request.

Moss said he wanted to impose some prison time because while he did not "remotely believe Mr Papadopoulos was seeking to assist the Russian government", he was nevertheless troubled by Papadopoulos' selfish motives to lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation so that he would not lose a shot at getting a possible job in the Trump administration. They allege Papadopoulos thwarted an ongoing national security investigation and contributed to them losing track of Joseph Mifsud, the professor who knew about the "dirt" on Clinton, before they could effectively question him.

Papadopoulos admitted that he lied to FBI investigators when they interviewed him on January 27, 2017.

"His arrest and prosecution served as a notice to all that this was a serious investigation", defense lawyers wrote.

On Aug. 21, Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in NY to campaign finance violations and other charges, saying he made payments to influence the 2016 election at the direction of a candidate for federal office.

That account conflicts with what Sessions, now attorney general, testified before Congress.

Only one other criminal defendant in the Russian Federation probe has been sentenced.

"At the time of the FBI interview", the Times noted, "he was being considered for a job in the Trump administration and was concerned about where the escalating investigation might lead".

Van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in a Pennsylvania prison and received a $20,000 fine.

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    More accurately, Papadopoulos hemmed and hawed, and finally settled on, "I might have, but I have no recollection of doing so". Papadopoulos. "The message is for all of us to check our loyalty, to tell the truth, to help the good guys", Breen said.
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