CHICAGO -- George Papadopoulos, the Chicago native and Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay his legal and living expenses.
His wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, spoke to WGN’s Tom Negovan. She said the couple is living in virtual seclusion in Chicago as he awaits sentencing for lying about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign.
Simona Papadopoulos said as a spouse, she’s heart-sick and as an attorney, she’s troubled and believes her husband is the victim of entrapment.
She is an Italian lawyer who once worked for the European parliament and said her husband made a simple, honest mistake.
“I don’t know if any collusion happened ever, but definitely not because of George. And I know he isn’t involved in any manner, in any possible way, with collusion," she said.
“I have more ties to Russia than he does. I know many more people in Russia. I’ve been to Russia. He’s never been to Russia. He doesn’t have any ties to the Russia."
When asked about George Papadopoulos pleading guilty, she said. “There’s not much choice that a young person has when you’re involved with such major investigation and you know the cost of a trial.”
Cost is a big concern for the couple. To save money, they moved in with his mother. Already, legal fees have tapped them out. They launched a GoFundMe page to pay the bills. The original goal, $200,000 was revised down to $75,000. The total raised to date is a little over $300. The comments have not been kind. Some are downright profane. Others talk of treason.
“I think there is a huge amount of unfairness here,” Simona Papadopoulos said.
She said she was also interviewed by the FBI and while she can’t get into the details of it, she said it went on for hours.
George Papadopoulos was named a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign when he was 28. When he began talking to the feds, he was decried as a coffee boy. The president himself tweeted, “Few people knew the young, low-level volunteer named George, who has already been proven to be a liar.”
The couple’s social media accounts suggest a glamorous life with trips to Beverly Hills and Oak Street Beach. But Simona Papadopoulos said it has all changed. They are now unemployable and living in a sort of suspended animation with zero income and a most uncertain future.
“It’s scary also because we don’t trust anybody anymore. Really you don’t know who to trust,” she said.
Neither George Papadopoulos nor his Chicago lawyer are commenting as he awaits sentencing that is expected later this year.