Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended that a federal judge to sentence George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide of US President Donald Trump, to up to six months in prison for lying to investigators in relation to the ongoing Russian Federation meddling probe.
"Much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history, and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas well after the defendant's FBI interview as the government continued its investigation", the filing says.
The filing by the special counsel's office strongly suggests the FBI had contact with Professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the US during the early part of the investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates. Papadopoulos' sentencing is scheduled for September 7.
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His filing did not specify a particular sentence for Papadopoulos, but noted that under legal guidelines his sentence could range from no time in prison to up to six months.
"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", Mueller's team wrote, noting that the professor left the U.S.in February 2017 and has not returned since.
In a document filed late Friday, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, said the former adviser, George Papadopoulos, misled investigators about the "timing, extent and nature" of the meetings. He denies any wrongdoing.More news: Another strong quake jolts Indonesian island of Lombok
Papadopoulos did not ultimately provide "substantial assistance" to investigators, however, and prosecutors insisted his crime - which consisted of "at least a dozen lies" - "was serious and caused damage to the government's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election".
The court filing Friday states that Mueller's team is "aware that the defendant and his spouse have participated in several additional media interviews concerning his case". Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a plea deal.
It says he was warned about the seriousness of the investigation and that he might have important information to provide. He received 30 days in prison. Papadopoulos learned about the "dirt" the Russians had on Clinton the following month, after he began working for Trump, the filing said. Prosecutors working for Mueller are recommending a short prison sentence for a former Trump campaign adviser who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Russian Federation probe.
Another defendant, Alex van der Zwaan, also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.
The filing suggests Papadopoulos hampered the FBI's ability to figure that out.
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. 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.