With legal scholars, the media, and the public alike focusing their attention on the indictment of former Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the real story on October 30, 2017, was the announcement of the guilty plea of a man named George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos was the energy and foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign, according to The Guardian.
After releasing the details of the indictment against Manafort and one other Trump campaign aide, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced that his office had entered into a cooperation agreement with Papadopoulos. As part of the agreement, Papadopoulos secretly pleaded guilty in early October 2017 to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Russians connected with the Kremlin in his role as an adviser to the Trump campaign.
In pleading guilty, Papadopoulos admitted that his conduct impeded the “FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
Papadopoulos was involved in brokering meetings between the Trump campaign and Russians associated with the Kremlin. In making the announcement of the guilty plea, the Special Counsel provided little information as to what did or not result from these efforts undertaken, and then lied about, by Papadopoulos.
Papadopoulos was arrested in July. He was not incarcerated after his arrest. Pursuant to the plea agreement, he appeared before a federal judge during the first week of October and pleaded guilty.
The Special Counsel’s office stated that it would advise the sentencing judge of Papadopoulos’s cooperation with the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian officials. The one caveat noted by the Special Counsel’s office is that in order for that recommendation to be made, Papadopoulos needs to continue to cooperate with the investigation.
The indictment in Papadopoulos’s case indicate that he was striving to set up a meeting between Russian officials, who claimed they had negative information about Hillary Clinton, directly with Donald Trump. An email back to Papadopoulos about scheduling a meeting with Trump stated that such a session needed to be with someone removed from Trump so not to raise any red flags.
As of the time the Special Counsel’s office released information on Papadopoulos, no date has been disclosed for his sentencing. Papadopoulos remains free, likely on his own recognizance.