Eleven months after agreeing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was sentenced in federal court on Friday. He will serve 14 days in prison, submit to 12 months of supervised release and pay a fine of $9,500.
Papadopoulos came under scrutiny after he confided to an Australian diplomat in May 2016 that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails” — and an intermediary had offered to share them with the Trump campaign.
Papadopoulos’ admission, which the Australian government passed on to the F.B.I. after public reports that the Clinton campaign was hacked, triggered a federal investigation into the Trump campaign. When approached by FBI agents, Papadopoulos lied about circumstances under which he’d heard the Russian’s offer.
“I made a terrible mistake,” Papadopoulos told U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss on Friday. “I hope to have a second chance to redeem myself.”
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in October 2017, and he has been cooperating with the investigation since. His wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos was also interviewed by Robert Mueller.
Recently, though, the couple had begun to signal increasing dissatisfaction with the arrangement. In August, Mangiante Papadopoulos told MSNBC there was “exculpatory evidences that fully justify him to drop off his plea agreement.”
The feeling was, apparently, mutual: in a sentencing memo, Mueller indicated Papadopoulos was not as cooperative as investigators hoped he would be. “The defendant did not provide ‘substantial assistance,’ and much of the information provided… came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history and other information it obtained via search warrants and subpoenas,” Mueller wrote.
Mueller recommended Papadopoulos serve up to six months in prison, but Moss, who said he was he moved by Papadopoulos’ remorse, imposed significantly lighter sentence.
After his court appearance, Papadopoulos’ mother, Kiki, told a reporter she’d initially advised her son against speaking to federal agents. “If you only listened to your mother,” she said, “None of this would have happened.”