Prosecutors recommend short prison stay for Papadopoulos
CHICAGO — Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller are recommending Chicagoan — and former Trump campaign adviser — George Papadopoulos only serve up to six months in federal prison.
That’s despite the fact prosecutors said Papadopoulos did not provide “substantial assistance” after his guilty plea.
A government sentencing memorandum revealed that recommendation along with several other new details about how the DePaul University alumnus became an early focus of the Russia investigation.
“The defendant lied in order to conceal his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign and made his false statements to investigators on January 27, 2017, early in the investigation, when key investigative decisions, including who to interview and when, were being made,” the memorandum said.
It also reveals FBI agents first interviewed Papadopoulos at the Chicago field office on January 27, 2017.
Prosecutors said the interview began with FBI agents telling Papadopoulos “the only thing we ask from you is that you’re truthful with us . . . and the only way you’re getting in trouble today is if you do lie to us.” It was in that conversation prosecutors said “he proceeded to answer questions, and to lie, for more than two hours.”
Previous reports indicate Papadopoulos popped on federal agents’ radar after bragging in an upscale bar in London in May 2016 that he had been told Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Hillary Clinton.
The New York Times reported in 2017 that the conversation was with Australia’s top diplomat in Britain who reported it back to U.S. officials two months later when hacked Democratic party emails began appearing online.
Papadopoulos eventually pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate in the Russia probe. However, the sentencing memorandum 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.”
The government alleges Papadopoulos’ duplicity hindered investigators’ ability to interview key players, including a professor who may have been an intermediary for the Russian government.
The sentencing memorandum also reveals Papadopoulos said he received roughly $10,000 in cash “from a foreign national whom he believed was likely an intelligence officer of a foreign country (other than Russia).”