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21 August 2018, 01:00 | Tara Lloyd
Mueller recommends 6-month sentence for Papadopoulos
Special counsel Robert Mueller is recommending a judge sentence one-time Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos to up to six months in jail for lying to the FBI, a request that factors in his pledge to cooperate with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, according to documents filed with the court.
While saying the government can not know what motivated Papadopoulos to lie, Mueller's office wrote in the sentencing memo that he was seeking a high-level position in the new administration's National Security Council or the State or Energy departments.
The FBI would have arrested or at least questioned an elusive Maltese professor who claimed to know in April of 2016 that Russian Federation had "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the form of "thousands" of stolen emails, but the investigators missed the professor because George Papadopoulos lied to them repeatedly.
"Much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history, and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas well after the defendant's FBI interview as the government continued its investigation", prosecutors said in the filing.
The professor is alleged to have told Mr Papdopoulos that the Russians possessed "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails, before those emails became public.
One of the Russian contacts that Papadopoulos misled investigators about communicating with was Joseph Mifsud, a Kremlin-linked professor in London who allegedly reached out to Papadopoulos on behalf of Russia. Mueller wrote in the statement.
"The defendant's false statements were meant to harm the investigation, and did so", the government's filing says. Mifsud, who "has not returned to the United States" since February 2017, has not been publicly charged with a crime. And Papadopoulos was also upset to learn that a Cambridge professor who hired him to write an energy paper in the fall of 2016 was a source for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, she said in June.
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.
Papadopoulos was also the first Trump campaign adviser to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation.
According to that indictment, by April 2016, the Russian intelligence operatives had already stolen emails from several Democratic groups including the Clinton campaign and were beginning to plan how they were going to release the documents.
It says he was warned about the seriousness of the investigation and that he might have important information to provide.
"The defendant knew the questions he was asked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation were important, and he knew his answers were false at the time he gave them".
After Friday's filing, Papadopoulos' wife, Simona Mangiante, told CNN she felt her husband should pull out of the plea agreement, saying he hadn't had proper representation in the negotiation with the government. He received 30 days in prison.
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