The lawyers for former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos plan to tell the judge in his case that their client shouldn’t serve any time in prison.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October last year to one count of making false statements to the FBI as part of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Almost a year later, on Aug. 17, Mueller filed a sentencing memorandum suggesting that Papadopoulos should receive zero to six months in prison, and appears to propose that a 30-day sentence may be appropriate.
Papadopoulos attorneys Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley told the Chicago Sun-Times that prison time isn’t merited for “mistakes of judgment” by Papadopoulos.
“The court has broad discretion in deciding what an appropriate sentence is for a particular case. Under federal sentencing laws, George is eligible to receive a sentence of probation or time served,” the lawyers said in a statement to the Sun-Times.
“It is our position that a non-custodial sentence is warranted. The court will be advised as to how George found himself in such a vulnerable position. As a result of that vulnerability, mistakes of judgment were made by him.”
The sentencing, whether it be for 30 days or no prison time at all, will be a significant event for Mueller, because Papadopoulos was allegedly the man who inadvertently started the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. The bureau’s probe, codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane,” was started based on an intelligence report relating a drunken conversation between Papadopoulos and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.
In Mueller’s sentencing memorandum, the special counsel claims that Papadopoulos’s lies to the FBI impeded the bureau from carrying out its investigation of the Trump campaign.
“Most immediately, those statements substantially hindered investigators’ ability to effectively question the Professor when the FBI located him in Washington, D.C. approximately two weeks after the defendant’s Jan. 27, 2017 interview,” the memo states. “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.”
By the “professor,” the special counsel is referring to Joseph Mifsud, the man who told Papadopoulos that Russians had acquired dirt on candidate Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos would go on to repeat the claim to Downer, triggering “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Papadopoulos told the FBI that Mifsud was “a nothing,” which, according to Mueller, impeded the investigation in January 2017. That statement is curious, considering that the FBI stated that it knew of Mifsud’s links to Russia in its October 2016 secret court application for a warrant to spy on former Trump-campaign volunteer Carter Page. A basic web search for “Mifsud Russia” brings up a photo of the professor at the Russian embassy.