Judge orders Papadopoulos to report to prison Monday
Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe.
Papadopoulos had asked a federal judge twice in the last 10 days to pause his sentence. The federal Bureau of Prisons has him set to surrender at a correctional camp in Wisconsin tomorrow.
The judge who sentenced him, however, denied both of his requests on Sunday, saying Papadopoulos hadn’t filed any court appeals within the window he was allowed and gave a firm nod that the office of special counsel, which prosecuted Papadopoulos, has acted correctly.
Papadopoulos gave up much of his rights to appeal under his plea agreement, which he cut with the special counsel’s office last year.
He hadn’t used any legal tools he still had at hand in his recent court requests, the judge, Randy Moss of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, added.
Papadopoulos will be the third defendant in the Mueller probe to serve jail time. Previously, the Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan stayed almost a month in a Pennsylvania federal prison for lying to investigators, while the Californian fake ID salesman Richard Pinedo is being held in a southern California prison until mid-May 2019.
Papadopoulos’ full sentence includes the prison time, a $9,500 fine, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service.
He pled guilty last year to lying to investigators about his contact with Russian affiliates during the campaign, including a mysterious European man who told him Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. When federal agents approached Papadopoulos about his interactions with the foreigners, he lied to them repeatedly, he admitted in court. In court filings, Papadopoulos has also accused former Attorney General Jeff Sessions of lying about his interactions on the campaign.
At his sentencing this fall, the 31-year-old said he felt “embarrassed” and “ashamed” for his actions in the investigation. But in the weeks that followed his sentencing in early September, Papadopoulos brought in a new legal team to make court filings on his behalf. He has said publicly via Twitterthat he was a victim in a government conspiracy and will “expose” a corrupt investigation.
Specifically, Papadopoulos claimed to the judge that his prison term should be put on hold while an appeals court weighs the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. Four lower-court judges have already written that Mueller has acted appropriately as a Justice Department prosecutor.
Moss in his opinion Sunday shot down the speculation that Mueller’s work was at odds with the US Constitution and predicted the DC Circuit Court of Appeals would uphold the special counsel’s authority.
“Based on the reasoning contained in those opinions [of other judges], Court concludes that the prospect that the DC Circuit will reach a contrary conclusion is remote,” Moss wrote.