George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation, was sentenced to 14 days in prison Friday after he told a judge he was "deeply embarrassed and ashamed" for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian intermediaries.
Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos exits U.S. District Court after his sentencing hearing in Washington on September 7, 2018. The judge said there's no evidence Papadopolous had "any desire to aid Russian Federation in any way".
The man whose case helped launch the sprawling investigation of Russian election interference that has engulfed the White House was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday.
The professor had reportedly not been in contact with prosecutors in Italy seeking to question him over allegations of financial wrongdoing and his fiancé told Business Insider earlier this year that she could not reach him. "I was not honest, and I might have hindered the investigation".
In the 16-page sentencing memo seeking leniency, his attorneys Breen, Robert W. Stanley, and Todd S. Pugh, wrote, "to say George was out of his depth would be a gross understatement".
During his January 2017 interview with the FBI, Papadopoulos misled investigators about when he was told Russian Federation allegedly had dirt on Ms. Clinton.
"The defendant's lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States", they wrote, noting that Mifsud left the USA in February 2017 and hasn't returned. According to the indictment, Papadopoulos was told by a Maltese professor in April 2016 that Russian officials had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails".
It's unclear if the conversation between Mifsud and Papadopoulos was part of Moscow's larger scheme to boost Trump's candidacy.
The US President has also denied collusion in numerous occasions. "I saw him sitting in one picture at a table with me".
In the interview - the first since he pleaded guilty a year ago - the former campaign advisor insisted that he never alerted the Trump campaign about Russian dirt.
"I made a awful mistake", Papadopoulos said a courtroom statement.
Prosecutors had asked Papadopoulos be sentenced to no less than six months.
Out of the 35 people and entities so far charged, Papadopoulos is one of five who have pleaded guilty and the second to be sentenced.
"The President of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could", Mr Breen said. Because of his loyalty to Trump, "that's the mind set going in there".
A defence lawyer took issue with the government's claim that Papadopoulos interfered with the probe.
"My recollection was that the senator [Jeff Sessions] was actually enthusiastic about a meeting between the candidate and President Putin". But prosecutors said his assistance was negligible.
Papadopoulos learned his fate Friday in federal court in Washington.
Not only that, Papadopoulos withheld a cellphone that he used during the campaign, prosecutors said, and provided it only when asked about the phone.