Former Trump foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos was sentenced today to fourteen days in prison for lying to investigators about the role he played in the collusion effort during the 2016 campaign. Papadopoulos had been charged with lying to the FBI about contact with Russian individuals.
In addition to the jail time, Papadopoulos will also have twelve months of supervised release, serve 200 hours of community service and pay a fine of $9,500.
Papadopoulos is the first former Trump campaign member to be sentenced in the Russia investigation.
The FBI has attested that the investigation into Russian interference in 2016 election began with Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos was contacted by individuals associated with the Russian government who told him the Russia government was in possession of incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”
Papadopoulos disclosed that information to an Australian diplomat who then in turn informed American officials.
Trump campaign officials have downplayed the role Papadopoulos played in the campaign. Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo called him a volunteer “coffee boy.” Papadopoulos asserts his role was more significant than that and that he took a number of high-profile overseas trips representing the campaign.
He also contends he was encouraged to take the trip to meet with Russian representatives in order to retrieve “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, by more senior campaign officials.
Papadopoulos’ legal team laid blame for the controversy at the feet of President Trump. “The President of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever did,” Papadopoulos’ defense attorney Thomas Breen said.
Breen said Papadopoulos had decided to forsake loyalty to his former boss in order to serve justice. “The message is for all of us to check our loyalty, to tell the truth, to help the good guys,” he said.
Papadopoulos hopes to have his probation end immediately after the sentencing because of thirteen months he’s already served since his arrest.
Prosecutors had advised against leniency saying that Papadopoulos “did not provide ‘substantial assistance’”, and that after his arrest “much of the information provided by [Papadopoulos] came only after the government confronted him.”
The judge in the case, Judge Randy Moss, said he gave Papadopoulos fourteen days because he researched how many individuals with this type of charge received prison time, and it was fewer than half.
“I know the sentence is painful to you. I’m sure you’re wondering what comes next,” Moss said. “I hope you think of your sentence as the beginning of that second chance.”
Photo by Marco Verch via Flickr