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EXCLUSIVE: Papadopoulos lawyers to seek no prison for client in Mueller case

George and Simona Papadopoulos / Photo posted on Facebook by George Papadopoulos

WASHINGTON — Chicagoan George Papadopoulos celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday with wife Simona, the couple upbeat even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge to imprison Papadopoulos because his false statements hindered the Russia probe.

Now, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned that Papadopoulos’ lawyers, Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley, will tell a judge in their sentencing memorandum that the North Side resident should not get any prison time for his “mistakes of judgement.”

Breen and Stanley told the Sun-Times that “the court has broad discretion in deciding what an appropriate sentence is for a particular case. Under federal sentencing laws, George is eligible to receive a sentence of probation or time served.

“It is our position that a non-custodial sentence is warranted. The court will be advised as to how George found himself in such a vulnerable position. As a result of that vulnerability, mistakes of judgment were made by him. On August 31, 2018, we will file our sentencing memorandum detailing why we believe George should receive a non-custodial sentence.”

Last October, Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries. That threw a spotlight on the Lincolnwood-raised graduate of Niles West High School and DePaul University.

The plea triggered speculation over whether and how much Papadopoulos was cooperating with Mueller’s investigation of Russian government interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and if there was any coordination with the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Well, now we know more, from Mueller’s perspective.

According to the sentencing memorandum Mueller filed on Friday afternoon, Papadopoulos did not provide “substantial assistance” to Muller’s investigation.

Among other items, the government memo said that in a January 2017 interview, Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with a “professor” — identified in multiple news reports as Joseph Mifsud, a Russian government operative who said he had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and thousands of emails. If Papadopoulos had not misled the investigators, the government could have detained or arrested Mifsud when he was in the U.S.

An unwitting Papadopoulos launched the FBI’s Russia probe into election interference when he told an Australian diplomat in London in May 2016 that the Russians had Clinton emails. Australia eventually told the FBI.

Mueller’s team, which had the option of recommending no prison time for Papadopoulos, instead asked the judge to consider some period of imprisonment. Mueller’s memo noted that federal guidelines for Papadopoulos’ offense call for incarceration from zero- to- six months.

However, Mueller signaled to the judge that a 30-day sentence might be appropriate, noting in the memo the 30-day sentence given to another Mueller defendant, Alex van der Zwaan, who pled guilty to the exact same false statements violation.

An interesting nugget in the government memo: On the same day Papadopoulos met with and lied to FBI agents — Jan, 27, 2017, a week after President Trump’s inauguration — he submitted materials to the Trump team in order to be considered for a Deputy Assistant Secretary post in the Energy Department.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 7 in a Washington federal courtroom.

Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, wife of former Donald Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, takes a break from a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the House intelligence committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. | J. Sco
Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, wife of former Donald Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, takes a break from a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the House intelligence committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP photo

SIMONA MANGIANTE PAPADOPOULOS CAMPAIGN GETS MUELLER NOTICE

Papdopoulos and his wife, an Italian, wed in Chicago’s City Hall on March 2. Recently, she has stepped up her crusade on behalf of her husband.

Last month, she voluntarily flew to Washington from Chicago and appeared before Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. In recent weeks, Simona has given a series of interviews, asking Trump for clemency and suggesting that her husband was set-up. On June 24, she launched a GoFundMe drive for legal and living expenses. As of Sunday, the fund had collected $5,895 with a $75,000 goal.

Mueller’s team noticed Simona. And, in an unusual move, used the sentencing memo to deliver a rebuttal to her. “In several media appearences, the defendant’s spouse has claimed that the defendant ‘voluntarily reported’ to the FBI the Professor’s conversation with him about the ‘dirt’ on Clinton. . . . To the contrary,” the memo said.

Papadopoulos’ Mueller chapter will soon be over.

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On Friday, Papadopoulos said in a Tweet, “Looking forward to enjoying my 31st birthday this weekend with my beautiful and supporting wife. I love you.”

On Sunday morning, Simona said in a Tweet, “Happy Birthday my love @GeorgePapa19,” followed by several hearts. “We will never forget this one.” She added #strong #together “ForeverYoung.”

Replied Papadopoulos, using the Greek word for doll, “Thank you, koukla!”