Papadopoulos Should Be Sentenced to Six Months at Most, Prosecutors Say

(Bloomberg) -- George Papadopoulos, whose drunken braggadocio was a catalyst for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the U.S. election, should be sentenced to no more than six months in prison for lying to federal agents, prosecutors told a judge.

The recommendation came in a court filing Friday in Washington federal court. Papadopoulos is due to be sentenced on Sept. 7, after defense lawyers file their own recommendation.

“The sentence imposed here should reflect the fact that lying to federal investigators has real consequences, especially where the defendant lied to investigators about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance, after having been explicitly warned that lying to the FBI was a federal offense,” Mueller said in the court filing.

Mueller’s team hammered out a plea deal with Papadopoulos 10 months ago. That was made public two weeks later with the announcement of charges against Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his top aide, Rick Gates, for money laundering and illegally lobbying U.S. officials on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

In his guilty plea, Papadopoulos, then 30, admitted he lied to federal agents about his contacts with a U.K. college professor later identified as Joseph Mifsud, who had ties to the Russian government and promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulous used his contacts with Mifsud to elevate his status within the campaign and to lobby for a meeting between Trump and Russian foreign affairs officials.

Mueller said in the filing Friday that Papadopoulos’s deceit, in addition to slowing down the special prosecutor’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, undermined prosecutors’ ability to detain or arrest the professor while he was in the U.S.

During a night of heavy drinking in a London bar in May 2016, Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russia had dirt on Clinton, according to the New York Times. The Australians passed the information to the FBI, and that appears to have sparked the agency’s investigation of Trump’s contacts with Russia.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty and agreed to assist Mueller, as did Gates.

The case is U.S. v Papadopoulos, 17-cr-182, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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