Mueller recommends up to 6 months for ex-Trump campaign aide Papadopoulos

Tuesday, 21 Aug, 2018

In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to Mueller and his team - which, according to Politico, made him the first to plead guilty in the Mueller investigation.

"The defendant lied in order to hide his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign", the filing said.

Now, Mueller has recommended that Papadopoulos see some time in prison.

Papadopoulos' fate will be known soon, as Mueller asked U.S. District Court Judge Randy Moss to set Papadopoulos' sentencing for September 7.

But Papadopoulos knew he had a role in the campaign when he started conversing with Mifsud in March 2016 - and the professor "showed interest in the defendant only after learning of his role on the campaign", the filing said.

According to his plea agreement, Papadopoulos admitted to lying about the timing of his contacts with a professor, Joseph Mifsud, in London.

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. Mueller wrote in Friday's filing that Papadopoulos "was explicitly notified of the seriousness of the ongoing investigation", and warned by the special counsel's prosecutors "that lying to investigators was a "federal offense" that could get him "in trouble", Politico reported. It has always been a mystery whether Papadopoulos told anyone inside the Trump campaign about the Russian dirt, and the document filed Friday does not answer the question.

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Papadopoulos unwittingly played a key role in triggering the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign in Russian Federation, which the president repeatedly has denounced as a "witch hunt".

Papadopoulos was arrested in July 2017 after he arrived in the United States from a vacation in Europe.

That's despite the fact prosecutors said Papadopoulos did not provide "substantial assistance" after his guilty plea.

When Papadopoulos' plea agreement and criminal information were released last year, prosecutors said they would use a combination of factors to ask the judge for a sentence of zero to six months instead of the statutory maximum of five years. The only defendant to be sentenced is lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to making false statements about his conversations with a former Trump campaign official.

"Had the defendant told the Federal Bureau of Investigation the truth when he was interviewed in January 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could have quickly taken numerous investigative steps to help determine, for example, how and where the Professor obtained the information, why the Professor provided the information to the defendant, and what the defendant did with the information after receiving it", the document says.

Mueller's office has not yet filed a sentencing memo in the case of Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.