WASHINGTON -- George Papadopoulos, a low-level adviser to President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to federal agents.
Papadopoulos’s sentence was announced on September 7 in Washington federal court, where he apologized repeatedly and said he lied to "minimize both his own role as a witness and the extent of the campaign's knowledge of his contacts," according to a court document.
Papadopoulos was the first person to plead guilty to charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose prosecutors sought a six-month sentence for him.
Papadopoulos was on Trump’s foreign policy team during the 2016 election campaign when he made contact with some people whom U.S. authorities later suspected of being Russian agents.
One reportedly told him they had compromising materials on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival.
Papadopoulos’s contacts with the Russians triggered the FBI investigation in July 2016 into whether Trump associates had tried to collude with Russia.
In October 2017, Papadopoulos admitted to lying to the FBI about those contacts.
During the September 7 hearing, defense lawyer Thomas Breen argued for leniency for his client and dismissed prosecution arguments that his actions hindered Mueller’s investigation.
“The president of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever did,” Breen said.
Last month, Mueller won the first conviction to arise from his political fraud investigation when Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on charges of bank and tax fraud related to his work for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians done several years ago.
Manafort was fired by the Trump campaign a month after the FBI investigation began, amid revelations about the extent of his Ukrainian political work.
Manafort goes on trial a second time in late September on charges of conspiracy to defraud, failing to register as a foreign agent, witness tampering, and other charges.