Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

People indicted, convicted, investigated in Trump-Russia probe

People indicted, convicted, investigated in Trump-Russia probe

Papadopoulos obtained a plea deal at the time, which was subsequently unsealed last October.

George Papadopoulos says he made a "terrible mistake". "I was not honest, and I might have hindered the investigation".

US President Donald Trump reacted by taking an apparent swipe at the cost of the investigation into the former aide.

For months, his significance in the special counsel's investigation was unclear.

That was because, in January 2017, shortly before Papadopoulos was interviewed by - and lied to - the FBI, Trump proclaimed that the Russian Federation investigation was a "witch hunt" and "fake news", one his lawyers, Thomas Breen, told the court. The professor told Papadopoulos the Russians had "dirt" on Trump's Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails". In a court filing August 31, Papadopoulos's lawyers painted him as a political newcomer "eager to show his value to the campaign", and quickly got in over his head. He said at least a dozen times he learned of it before joining the campaign, according to court documents.

Papadopoulos was the first former Trump aide arrested in the probe into an alleged Kremlin plot to influence the 2016 United States elections.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday ahead of the sentencing, Trump played down his relationship with Papadopoulos.

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Papadopoulos discussed the Russian information during a meeting in a London bar in May 2016 with Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat in London. Federal prosecutors with the special counsel's office had asked Judge Randolph Moss for a sentence of up to six months in prison. In part because Papadopoulos misled authorities, they said in court papers, they failed to arrest a London-based professor - suspected of being a Russian operative - before he left the United States in the following month, never to return. Papadopoulos has cooperated for more than a year with Mueller's probe, but it remains unknown whether he has provided investigators with any information supporting allegations of collusion with Russian Federation.

Papadopoulos' defense lawyer, Thomas Breen, tried to shift some of the blame for his client's lies to Trump. Because of his loyalty to Trump, "that's the mind set going in there".

"I do credit the sense that he does feel remorse", Moss said.

Papadopoulos' lawyers had urged Moss to sentence him to probation.

His case was the first to detail a member of the Trump campaign having knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election while it was ongoing. It was revealed in December that it was drunken comments by Papadopoulos to an Australian diplomat that triggered the Russian Federation probe in the first place.

He ultimately cooperated but, Goldstein added, he "didn't come close to the standard of substantial assistance".

Not only that, Papadopoulos withheld a cellphone that he used during the campaign, prosecutors said, and provided it only when asked about the phone. But when pressed, Papadopoulos refused to completely shut the door on the possibility that the information made its way to other people on the campaign.

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