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Mueller recommends 6-month sentence for Papadopoulos

Mueller recommends 6-month sentence for Papadopoulos

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 US election.

In the court filing, Mueller wrote that Papadopoulos' "lies negatively affected the FBI's Russian Federation investigation" and his "lies were not momentarily lapses". Most immediately, those statements substantially hindered investigators' ability to effectively question the Professor when the Federal Bureau of Investigation located him in Washington, D.C. approximately two weeks after the defendant's January 27, 2017 interview.

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"The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed, but respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration, within the applicable Guidelines range of 0 to 6 months' imprisonment, is appropriate and warranted", Mueller wrote.

The former Trump campaign employee reached a plea agreement with Mueller's team a year ago and is set to be sentenced in September.

Papadopoulos - a Chicago-based worldwide energy lawyer - is one of three ex-Trump campaign officials who have admitted lying to investigators, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and businessman Richard Gates, who served as deputy campaign chairman. In July 2017, he was charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts during the campaign with a professor who had "substantial connections to Russian government officials", and accused of trying to hide his contacts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The professor is alleged to have told Mr Papdopoulos that the Russians possessed "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails, before those emails became public. He received 30 days in prison.

The filing by the special counsel's office strongly suggests the FBI had contact with Professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the USA during the early part of the investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates.

To make matters worse for Papadopoulos, the prosecutors say he has not provided significant help in their investigation. "The defendant's false statements were meant to harm the investigation, and did so". Mueller's filing suggests that Papadopoulos could get less than six months.

According to that indictment, by April 2016, the Russian intelligence operatives had already stolen emails from several Democratic groups including the Clinton campaign and were beginning to plan how they were going to release the documents.

"The defendant's lies also hindered the government's ability to discover who else may have known or been told about the Russians possessing "dirt" on Clinton", the document says.

Thirty-two people have been charged by Mueller's office since it took over the investigation in May 2017.

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