Published: Sat, August 18, 2018

USA special counsel recommends six months in prison for Papadopoulos

USA special counsel recommends six months in prison for Papadopoulos

Special counsel Robert Mueller recommended in a court filing on Friday that former Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos be sentenced to a maximum of six months in prison.

According to Mueller's sentencing memorandum to the judge, Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with people who claimed to have ties to top Russian officials, including his meeting with a professor who said Russia had "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The filing also revealed several new details about the early days of the investigation.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to FBI agents investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

Prosecutors also detail a series of interviews with Papadopoulos after he was arrested in July 2017, saying he did not provide "substantial assistance". "His lies negatively affected the FBI's Russian Federation investigation, and prevented the FBI from effectively identifying and confronting witnesses in a timely fashion", the court document states.

"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 defendant's lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States.

Papadopoulos's wife, Simona Mangiante, is urging her husband to break off the plea deal and stop cooperating with Mueller.

Mueller's team says in a new court filing that George Papadopoulos should spend at least some time incarcerated and pay a almost $10,000 fine.

The Russia investigation began as an FBI counter-intelligence operation in July 2016, triggered by information about Papadopoulos. The operation was taken over by Mueller.

Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty in October to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about meetings with individuals closely associated with the Russian government during the campaign.

According to that indictment, by April 2016 the Russians had stolen emails from Democratic groups including the Clinton campaign and were beginning to plan how to release the documents.

When the emails began appearing publicly two months later, the envoy, Alexander Downer, told USA diplomats about what Papadopoulos had said, according to US officials familiar with the events.

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