- The Washington Times - Monday, November 26, 2018

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser and first person charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, reported Monday to a federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, to serve a 14-day sentence.

Papadopoulos, 31, pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to FBI agents investigating Russian election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign. He also will pay a $9,500 fine, serve 200 hours of community service and remain under supervised release for a year.

Papadopoulos’ arrival in Wisconsin came after his attorneys mounted two legal challenges seeking to delay the start of his sentence. His legal team argued that an appeal in another case questioning the scope of Mr. Mueller’s authority may “impact the validity” of Papadopoulos’ conviction.

On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss denied their request.

The judge said Papadopoulos “failed to demonstrate that the D.C. Circuit is likely to concede that the appointment of the special counsel was unlawful — and, indeed, he has failed even to show that the appeal raises a ‘close question’ that ‘very well could be decided’ against the special counsel.”

Caroline Polisi, a defense lawyer for Papadopoulos, said in a statement Monday that they will not appeal Judge Moss’ decision and will not withdraw the plea agreement.

“Given the immense power of the special counsel’s office and the economic costs to Mr. Papadopoulos of continuing to fight, he will serve his sentence tomorrow and hopes to move on with his life,” Ms. Polisi said in the statement.

In an early morning tweet Monday, Papadopoulos insisted he had no connections to Russia.

“Still can’t believe the day I am going to a federal prison camp, mainstream media says am going for my Russia contacts. I have never met a single Russian official in my life. I have, however, met many western intel sources — Joseph Mifsud — who people still call ‘Russian.’ Facts. USA,” he tweeted before reporting for prison.

A foreign policy adviser on the Trump presidential campaign, Papadopoulos met with professor Joseph Mifsud, who had Russian connections, in early 2016. In April of that year, Mr. Mifsud told Papadopoulos that Russia had dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee who ran against Mr. Trump.

Papadopoulos sought to capitalize on that information by arranging a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the date and nature of his interactions with Mr. Mifsud. At his sentencing, Papadopoulos said he was “deeply embarrassed and personally ashamed” for lying to federal investigators.

But in an October television interview, Papadopoulos said he was considering withdrawing his guilty plea. In a tweet, he called pleading guilty his “biggest regret.”

Papadopoulos’ sentence was much shorter than the six months requested by federal prosecutors from Mr. Mueller’s team. In September, Mr. Trump had mocked the special counsel after Papadopoulos’ sentencing.

“14 days for $28 MILLION — $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!” the president tweeted.

Papadopoulos’ wife, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, tweeted a message of support to her husband on Monday morning.

“Be Strong as you are my Georgie! This experience thought us unity made us stronger, unity in the adversities and unity against all the unnecessary attacks and division. Life is a matter of priorities, and a united family is mine, our priority and our goal. Much love!” she tweeted.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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