Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended that a federal judge to sentence George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide of US President Donald Trump, to up to six months in prison for lying to investigators in relation to the ongoing Russian Federation meddling probe.
His filing did not specify a particular sentence for Papadopoulos, but noted that under legal guidelines his sentence could range from no time in prison to up to six months.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October to lying to FBI agents investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.
Mueller's memo recommended that Papadopoulos be imprisoned for up to six months; a judge is expected to issue a ruling on his sentence in early September.
Prosecutors said the interview began with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents telling Papadopoulos "the only thing we ask from you is that you're truthful with us. and the only way you're getting in trouble today is if you do lie to us".
There were also specific details in the court filing about what damage Papadopoulos caused.
Papadopoulos' initial interview with federal investigators in late January 2017 was months before the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller's sentencing memo also noted that although Papadopoulos "agreed to meet with the government to answer questions" before he pleaded guilty, he did not offer "substantial assistance" to the Russian Federation investigation.
With the intent of harming the investigation, Papadopoulos "repeatedly lied throughout the interview in order to hide the timing and significance of information the defendant had received regarding the Russians possessing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, as well as his own outreach to Russia on behalf of the campaign", they explained. Mueller's team said in their Friday filing that that early interview, part of a national security investigation, was "completely voluntary".
According to Mueller's sentencing memorandum to the judge, Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with people who claimed to have ties to top Russian officials, including his meeting with a professor who said Russia had "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Papdopoulos was "explicitly notified" of the seriousness of his interrogation but lied repeatedly in multiple interviews, according to prosecutors, who said they did not "definitively know" his motivation. They reminded Papadopoulos several times in that interview that he should not lie and could be prosecuted if he did, the filing said.
Papadopoulos's legal team will file their own sentencing assessment to the court in two weeks, and is expected to ask for probation.
George "Coffee Boy" Papadopoulos in London.
Since then, Mueller has returned two sweeping indictments that detail a multi-faceted Russian campaign to undermine the US presidential election in an attempt to hurt Clinton's candidacy and help Trump.
Papadopoulos' wife, Simona, however, still maintains her husband is innocent despite his guilty plea. The campaign aide, who the Trump team has tried to characterize as nothing more than a "coffee boy", had "lied in order to hide his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the campaign and made his false statements to investigators on January 27, 2017, early in the investigation, when key investigative decisions, including who to interview and when, were being made". He received 30 days in prison.