The disgraced former aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, George Papadopoulos, won’t be spending much time in prison for lying to federal agents, but he will have to pay a significant fine and perform several hours of community service.
On Friday, a federal court in Washington, DC, sentenced Papadopoulos, whose loose lips in a London bar prompted a counterintelligence probe of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, to serve only 14 days in a federal prison, along with 200 hours of community service, a $9,500 fine, and one year of supervised release, according to media reports.
Papadopoulos, 31, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last October, is the first member of Trump’s campaign to be sentenced to prison as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, according to The Hill.
After appearing to waver in recent weeks about whether or not he would honor his plea deal with the Mueller team, Papadopoulos eventually came around to accepting his fate, as he and his attorney both acknowledged that Papadopoulos had hindered the investigation by lying multiple times to investigators. His attorney said Papadopoulos was remorseful for his actions and drew attention to Trump’s own questionable behavior in the case.
Papadopoulos told the court he had made “a terrible mistake, for which I have paid a terrible price, and am deeply ashamed,” The Washington Post reported. He lied to the FBI to “create distance between the issue, myself, and the president,” he said.
His attorney, Thomas M. Breen, added that “the President of the United States hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could.”
U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss seemed to accept this mea culpa, sentencing Papadopoulos, who tried to broker a campaign meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to significantly less prison time than the six months prosecutors sought. The judge also allowed Papadopoulos to “surrender at a future date,” according to the Post, and he can freely travel between Washington, New York, and California, until then.
Despite being called out by Papadopoulos’ defense attorney for allegedly obstructing justice in the case, Trump reacted to the light sentence by claiming victory.
“14 days for $28 MILLION - $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!” Trump tweeted.
Only in Trump World would the sentencing of the first campaign official among many with pending criminal cases be viewed as a positive development. Others are certain to follow, including Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who could end up spending the rest of his life in prison.