George Papadopoulos, a foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was sentenced to 14 days in jail for lying to investigators about his contacts with a U.K. professor peddling dirt from Russian officials about Hillary Clinton.
He told the court in Washington DC he was a “patriotic American” who made a mistake by lying. “In January 2017, I made a terrible mistake for which I paid dearly, I am ashamed,” Papadopoulos had told the court in Washington. He added, “I was young and ambitious.”
He pleaded guilty last October to lying to the FBI about the timing of meetings with alleged go-betweens for Moscow.
In October, Papadopoulos became the first person to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He’s the second defendant to be sentenced, after lawyer Alex van der Zwaan got 30 days behind bars.
In Friday’s sentencing, Papadopoulos was also handed 12 months of supervised release, 200 hours of community service, and a fine of $9,500 (£7,350).
Prosecutors said Papadopoulos used his contacts with the professor, identified in court papers as Joseph Mifsud, to elevate his status within the campaign and lobby for a meeting between Trump and Russian officials, including president Vladimir Putin.
The ex-Trump adviser admitted that nearly two months before news broke that leading Democrats’ emails had been hacked, he was tipped off that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” After that, he talked extensively to three foreign contacts (two of whom were Russian) to try and set up a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin, and kept several top Trump campaign aides in the loop on his efforts.
US President Donald Trump reacted on Twitter at the cost of the investigation into the former aide.
14 days for $28 MILLION – $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2018
Papadopoulos told CNN in an interview aired on Friday that Mr Trump “gave me a sort of a nod” and “wasn’t committed either way” about the idea of a meeting with the Russian leader.
But he said then-senator and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions “was actually enthusiastic”. Last November, Mr Sessions testified to Congress that he had “pushed back” against Papadopoulos’ offer.
When the FBI interviewed him in January 2017, Papadopoulos falsely claimed he had met two individuals with Russian ties before he joined the president’s team in March 2016. He had actually met them after joining Mr Trump’s campaign.
One individual was a Russian woman who Papadopoulos believed had connections to the Russian government.