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August 18, 2018

In second sentencing from special counsel investigation, feds seeking incarceration "within Guidelines range of 0 to 6 months" for George Papadopoulos

As reported in this New York Times piece, special counsel Robert Mueller and his team have submitted this sentencing memo in conjunction with the upcoming scheduled sentencing of George Papadopoulos. Here is how that memocrandum gets started:

The government submits this memorandum in connection with the sentencing of George Papadopoulosscheduled for September 7, 2018. On October 5, 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a).  The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be imposed, but respectfully submits that a sentence of incarceration, within the applicable Guidelines range of 0 to 6 months’ imprisonment, is appropriate and warranted.

The defendant’s crime was serious and caused damage to the government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  The defendant lied in order to conceal 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.  The defendant was explicitly notified of the seriousness of the ongoing investigation, and was told that he may have important information to provide.  He was warned that lying to investigators was a “federal offense” that could get him “in trouble.”  Instead of telling the truth, however, the defendant repeatedly lied throughout the interview in order to conceal 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.  The defendant’s false statements were intended to harm the investigation, and did so.

In light of the defendant’s conduct and the lack of mitigating circumstances, the principles of sentencing set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) call for a period of incarceration.

Here is more from the memo and context from the NY Times story:

Mr. Mueller’s memo said Mr. Papadopoulos did not provide “substantial assistance” to the investigation, and that “much of the information provided by the defendant came only after the government confronted him with his own emails, text messages, internet search history and other information it had obtained via search warrants and subpoenas.”

Thirty-two people have been charged by Mr. Mueller’s office since it took over the investigation in May 2017. The only defendant to be sentenced so far is the lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to making false statements about his conversations with a former Trump campaign official. In April, a judge sentenced him to 30 days in prison.

Mr. Mueller’s office has not yet filed a sentencing memo in the case of Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. He pleaded guilty in December to making false statements to investigators about his contacts with the Russian ambassador and agreed to cooperate with the authorities. Mr. Flynn was scheduled to be sentenced this year, but that has been delayed, suggesting that he is still cooperating with the government.

August 18, 2018 at 04:59 PM | Permalink

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