Ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in prison
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Ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in prison

“I made a dreadful mistake, but I am a good man who is eager for redemption,” Ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos said.

world Updated: Sep 08, 2018 23:02 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Ex-Trump campaign adviser,George Papadopoulos,campaign adviser
George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign adviser who triggered the Russia investigation, was sentenced to 14 days in prison Friday. (AFP File Photo)

George Papadopoulos was sent to 14 days in jail, making him the first Trump campaign aide sentenced in connection with the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible collusion.

The first person to also be arrested in this case, Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators about his contacts with a London-based professor who had put him in touch with Russians, promising political dirt on Donald Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The low-profile campaign aide, who was named a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, had tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to arrange a meeting between candidate Trump and Russians.

Seeking leniency from the court, he said he had made “a terrible mistake for which I have paid a terrible price, and am deeply ashamed.”

Apart from two weeks in prison, he will also have 12 months of supervised release, perform 200 hours of community service and pay a fine of $9,500.

He is the first Trump campaign aide jailed yet. Two others, Michael Flynn and Richard Gates, have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the investigation. And the fourth, Paul Manafort, was found guilty last month to eight counts of bank fraud and tax evasion and is set to go on trial in connection with a second case later in September. None of them, however, has been charged with colluding in Russian interference. Papadopoulos and Flynn were indicted for lying about their Russia contacts, and Manafort and Gates were accused of bank fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

Since Papadopoulos’s arrest, indictment and guilty plea in October 2017, the Trump administration has sought to downplay his role in the campaign, calling him a “low-level volunteer”.

On Friday, President Trump said, “I don’t know Papadopoulos. I don’t know him. I saw him sitting, in one picture, at a table with me. That’s the only thing I know about him. I don’t know him.”

On Twitter, he wrote, “14 days for $28 MILLION - $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!” The money is what the US is spending on the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which the president routinely attacks in a bid to damage its credibility.

A picture of Trump and foreign policy advisers to his presidential campaign was widely cited by critics to accuse the president and his team of downplaying the ex-aide’s role. Jeff Sessions, then a senior adviser to the campaign and now the country’s attorney general, was also in that picture.

First Published: Sep 08, 2018 10:12 IST