The newly hired lawyers for former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on Friday began their push to erase his prosecution and conviction, arguing in a court filing in Washington that the special counsel is serving unlawfully.
Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents and was sentenced in September to 14 days in prison. That term is set to begin Nov. 26. His lawyers at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht want the incarceration put on hold pending the outcome of a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
That case challenges the appointment of Robert Mueller III as special counsel. The appeals court heard arguments Nov. 8 from lawyers for a Mueller grand jury witness named Andrew Miller.
“The D.C. Circuit’s decision in the pending appeal … may directly impact the validity of Mr. Papadopoulos’s prosecution and conviction,” Papadopoulos’s lawyers said in their court filing. “If the appeal is successful, then the Special Counsel lacked constitutional authority to prosecute Mr. Papadopoulos in the first instance.” They added: “Requiring Mr. Papadopoulos to serve a sentence for a conviction that may be void, would be unjust.”
Papadopoulos has questioned Mueller’s investigation ever since pleading guilty to lying to investigators. His initial team of defense lawyers, Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley at the Chicago boutique Breen & Pugh, recently withdrew it appearance from the case.
There is a reason I have the top law firm in NY representing me. It’s not for my defense, but to go on the offensive. I cannot allow this precedent to become the norm in America.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) October 27, 2018
Papadopoulos’s new lawyers from Piece Bainbridge filed notices of appearance Friday. Those attorneys include partners John Pierce, Caroline Polisi and Christopher LaVigne, co-founder of the firm’s New York office. Associate Michael Hatley in Washington also is on the Papadopoulos defense team.
Their court filing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is posted below.