Mueller prosecutors say prison is optional for George Papadopoulos in Russia probe

Mueller prosecutors say prison is optional for George Papadopoulos in Russia probe

Mueller prosecutors say prison is optional for George Papadopoulos in Russia probe

Prosecutors said Friday that a sentence of up to six months in prison would be appropriate for George Papadopoulos, a former adviser to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the first charged defendant to cooperate in special counsel Robert Mueller III's investigation of Russian interference in the USA election.

In a document filed late Friday, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, said the former adviser, George Papadopoulos, misled investigators about the "timing, extent and nature" of the meetings.

Mueller's sentencing memo also noted that although Papadopoulos "agreed to meet with the government to answer questions" before he pleaded guilty, he did not offer "substantial assistance" to the Russian Federation investigation.

While saying the government can not know what motivated Papadopoulos to lie, Mueller's office wrote in the sentencing memo that he was seeking a high-level position in the new administration's National Security Council or the State or Energy departments.

Now, Mueller has recommended that Papadopoulos see some time in prison. In April, a judge sentenced him to 30 days in prison.

In particular, the document said that during a January 2017 interview with the FBI, Papadopoulos misled agents about his conversations with Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor who investigators believe reached out to Papadopoulos on behalf of the Russian government.

He has also indicted 12 Russian intelligence operatives, accusing them of hacking into the computer systems of Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic Party and then releasing tens of thousands of private emails through WikiLeaks.

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Papadopoulos pleaded guilty October 5 to one count of making false statements.

In his guilty plea, Papadopoulos admitted that he had lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a February 2017 interview and misled them about interactions he had with Mifsud and his Russian contacts.

"The defendant's false statements were meant to harm the investigation, and did so", the government's filing says.

"He lied repeatedly over the course of more than two hours, and his lies were created to hide facts he knew were critical", the court filing says.

It says he was warned about the seriousness of the investigation and that he might have important information to provide. Mueller's filing suggests that Papadopoulos could get less than six months.

The government alleges Papadopoulos' duplicity hindered investigators' ability to interview key players, including a professor who may have been an intermediary for the Russian government. It has always been a mystery whether Papadopoulos told anyone inside the Trump campaign about the Russian dirt, and the document filed Friday does not answer the question.

"Had the defendant told the Federal Bureau of Investigation the truth when he was interviewed in January 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could have quickly taken numerous investigative steps to help determine, for example, how and where the Professor obtained the information, why the Professor provided the information to the defendant, and what the defendant did with the information after receiving it", the document says.

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