A former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents in the special counsel’s Russia investigation should not be allowed to delay the start of his 14-day prison term, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.
The special counsel’s prosecution team was responding to a request from the convicted ex-adviser, George Papadopoulos, who has mounted various attacks on the charges against him after taking a plea deal. Saying Papadopoulos’s move was “made for the purposes of delay,” the special counsel prosecutors argued the former Trump adviser’s window to appeal closed in late September.
“Here, as part of a favorable plea agreement, the defendant waived his appeal and did not file a timely notice. The defendant received what he bargained for, and holding him to it is not a hardship,” prosecutors said.
Papadopoulos hired a new legal team at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht to argue that the prison term should be put on hold while a challenge to Mueller’s authority unfolds in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Papadopoulos earlier had been represented by Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley at the Chicago boutique Breen & Pugh.
In the appeals court, a Mueller grand jury witness named Andrew Miller, challenging a subpoena, contends Mueller’s appointment last year was unlawful. No judge who has weighed this argument has concluded as much.
Lawyers for Papadopoulos argue that a D.C. Circuit ruling against Mueller would cast doubt on Papadopoulos’s conviction for false statements. “If the appeal is successful, then the Special Counsel lacked constitutional authority to prosecute Mr. Papadopoulos in the first instance,” Papadopoulos’s lawyers said in a court filing last week. They added: “Requiring Mr. Papadopoulos to serve a sentence for a conviction that may be void, would be unjust.”
Papadopoulos, at the time of his sentencing in September, expressed contrition in court, and U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss pointed to that remorse when he ordered only a 14-day prison term. Since then, Papadopoulos has raised questions about his prosecution and plea deal, which required cooperation with Mueller’s team.
Papadopoulos is set to surrender Nov. 26 to federal authorities. Other Mueller defendants are awaiting sentencing on charges arising from the Russia investigation.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted at trial in Virginia on various banking charges arising from Mueller’s investigation, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to false statements, faces sentencing Dec. 18 in Washington’s federal trial court.
The government’s court filing is below: