WASHINGTON — George Papadopoulos, who served as foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, was sentenced to 14 days in jail and one year of supervised release after he plead guilty to lying to the FBI.
He is the first person to be sentenced in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Papadopoulos was also sentenced to a fine of $9,500 and 200 hours of community service.
Papadopoulos had given false statements to the FBI about the nature of his interaction with a professor who was linked to Russian intelligence. The academic told Papadopoulos that the Russians had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
He is scheduled to be interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday. He told the New York Times that he lied to FBI agents because he “wanted to distance himself as much as possible” from what was “probably an illegal action or dangerous information.” “I never felt that I did anything against my country’s interests,” he said.
Papadopoulos’ contacts may have instigated the Russian investigation, which was handed over to Mueller in May 2017.
According to multiple news accounts, Papadopoulos’ attorney Thomas Breen told a federal judge that Trump’s attacks on the investigation had been more damaging than the deception by his client.
“The president of the United States has hindered this investigation more than George Papadopoulos ever could,” he said.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted after a jury trial last month, and his deputy, Rick Gates, has pled guilty, as has former national security adviser Michael Flynn.