George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser whose actions triggered the Russia investigation, was sentenced to 14 days in prison Friday by a judge who said he had placed his own interests above those of the country.
The punishment was far less than the maximum six-month sentence sought by the government but also more than the probation that Papadopoulos and his lawyers had asked for. However, defense lawyer Thomas Breen said the sentence was fair.
U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said that Papadopoulos’ deception was “not a noble lie” and that he had lied because he wanted a job in the Trump administration and did not want to jeopardize that possibility by being tied to the Russia investigation.
Papadopoulos, the first Trump campaign aide sentenced in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, said he was “deeply embarrassed and ashamed’” for having lied to FBI agents during an interview last year and acknowledged that his actions could have hindered their work.
In an interview aired Friday on the CNN Papadopoulos said he does not remember informing Trump campaign officials that Russia had damaging emails about former U.S. Secretary of State and Trump presidential opponent Hillary Clinton. But he added he “can’t guarantee” he kept the information from campaign officials.
Foreknowledge of Russia’s offer to share damaging information about Clinton is at the heart of the Mueller investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, has been a central figure in the Russia investigation dating back before Mueller’s May 2017 appointment. He was the first to plead guilty in Mueller’s probe and is now the first Trump campaign adviser to be sentenced. His case was also the first to detail a member of the Trump campaign having knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election while it was ongoing.