George Papadopoulos asks judge to delay imprisonment

DCNFChuck Ross, DCNF

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos is hoping to delay having to report to federal prison later in November to serve a 14-day sentence he received as part of a plea agreement with the special counsel’s office.

Papadopoulos’s lawyers submitted a motion Friday asking a federal judge to allow the ex-Trump aide to remain free until the conclusion of an appeal in a separate case that is challenging the constitutionality of the special counsel’s probe, which is being directed by Robert Mueller.

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Andrew Miller, an associate of Trump confidant Roger Stone, is trying to avoid a Mueller grand jury subpoena by arguing the special counsel’s investigation is unconstitutional.

The appeal “may directly impact the validity of Mr. Papadopoulos’s prosecution and conviction,” Papadopoulos’s attorneys argue in their filing.

“The appeal challenges the constitutionality of the appointment of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III…If the appeal is successful, then the Special Counsel lacked constitutional authority to prosecute Mr. Papadopoulos in the first instance.”

Papadopoulos was sentenced to jail Sept. 7. He pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation on Oct. 5, 2017, to making false statements to the FBI about his interactions with a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud who introduced Papadopoulos to Russian nationals while he was on the campaign.

Papadopoulos was the FBI’s catalyst for its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. The FBI opened the probe July 31, 2016, after the Australian government provided information that Papadopoulos told Australian diplomat Alexander Downer on May 10, 2016, that Russians had derogatory information on Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos told FBI agents during a Jan. 27, 2017, interview that two weeks earlier, Mifsud had told him that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

Papadopoulos has claimed that he does not recall telling anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks. He also denies seeing, handling or disseminating any emails.

Mueller’s team has not suggested in its various court filings that Papadopoulos conspired to obtain or disseminate the emails.

Papadopoulos has hinted since his sentencing that he hoped to find a way out of serving his prison term. Just before his sentencing, Papadopoulos’s wife, Simona Mangiante, said that she had advised him to drop the plea agreement.

Papadopoulos has also speculated that several encounters he had during the campaign were surveillance operations carried out by the U.S. government.

At least one FBI informant did make contact with Papadopoulos. A former University of Cambridge professor named Stefan Halper flew Papadopoulos to London in September 2016 and paid him $3,000 to write an academic paper about energy issues.

Halper is now known to have been a longtime FBI and CIA informant.

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