George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who last year pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts with Russian intermediaries before the 2016 election, was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in jail.
He is the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced as part of the continuing investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Three others pleaded guilty or were convicted of felonies and await sentencing.
Mr. Papadopoulos was also fined $9,500 and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and one year of probation after he serves his sentence. Federal District Judge Randolph D. Moss cited “the gravity of the investigation” and the need to send a message to the public as the reason for the imprisonment.
Prosecutors argued that Mr. Papadopoulos’s repeated lies during a January 2017 interview with federal investigators impeded the inquiry at a critical moment. In part because Mr. Papadopoulos misled authorities, they said in court papers, they failed to arrest a Maltese, London-based professor — Joe Mifsud – suspected of being a Russian operative — before he left the United States in February 2017, never to return.
Papadopoulos played a key role in not only the Trump campaign’s potential collusion, but in initially triggering the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s hacking of Clinton’s emails when he drunkenly admitted to an Australian diplomat that Russia had obtained compromising information on Clinton.
Papadopoulos’ admission came after a Maltese professor — who has since gone missing — told Papadopoulos that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton, namely “thousands” of Clinton’s emails. The professor, Joseph Mifsud, only expressed interest in meeting with Papadopoulos when he learned that Papadopoulos had joined Trump’s team.