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Ex-Trump aide George Papadopoulos jailed for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

10 September 2018

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his dealings with Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor who told him in 2016 that Russian Federation had damaging information on President Trump's campaign rival, Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to making false statements to the investigation.

He also used his connections to the professor to seek to broker a meeting between Trump and Putin.

During his sentencing hearing Papadopoulos said his case should serve as a warning to others.

"I think everyone was a little paranoid throughout this past year", Papadopoulos said.

Even after his arrest and plea agreement past year, prosecutors say Papadopoulos continued to be hard with investigators, only providing information after being confronted with documents such as emails and text messages. Though he added, "I don't feel I can go so far as to not impose a sentence of incarceration at all".

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Outside court on Friday, Papadopoulos' lawyer, Thomas Breen, said his client was a "fool" and had acted "stupidly" by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

George Papadopoulos admitted to the court in Washington DC that he had hindered an investigation of national importance by hiding the extent of his contacts with Russian intermediaries. "An investigator involved in our efforts to serve him was told Mifsud might be deceased", DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.

"My recollection was that the senator [Jeff Sessions] was actually enthusiastic about a meeting between the candidate and President Putin". In court papers filed ahead of the sentencing, prosecutors say those lies caused irreparable harm to the investigation during its early months. His lawyer Tom Breen said that at the time, Papadopoulos was naive and acted on what he told the court was a "misguided loyalty" to Trump, who had been inaugurated as president just one week before.

Papadopoulos has been a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation since it began. Papadopoulos had initially claimed this was before he joined the campaign, though he later confirmed it was once he was on staff. However, he did not submit to the judge any letters from friends and family that spoke to his personal character or supported his request.

U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss ordered the incarceration, saying that he couldn't avoid imposing prison time given the gravity of the investigation.

Prosecutors say Papadopoulos was solicited by a professor with ties to Russian intelligence, Joseph Mifsud, who told the young Trump aide that the Russians possessed incriminating information about Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails" - before it was widely and publicly known that Russia had stolen Democratic emails.

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Papadopoulos was charged in July 2017.

"The defendant did not provide "substantial assistance" " after that arrest, prosecutors wrote to the judge, "and much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him".

Rick Gates, a former deputy campaign chairman for Trump, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy against the United States and lying to investigators, and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.

Papadopoulos married Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos while awaiting sentencing. Jeff Sessions, among others.

Only one other criminal defendant in the Russian Federation probe has been sentenced. Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who also lied to investigators, was previously sentenced to 30 days in jail.

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Ex-Trump aide George Papadopoulos jailed for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation