UK & US

Inmates treated ex-Trump aide as a ‘political celebrity’

By Cordelia Lynch, US correspondent

George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who was jailed for lying to the FBI, has told Sky News he was treated as a "political celebrity" in prison and was warmly welcomed by Trump-supporting inmates.

In November 2018, the 31-year-old admitted lying to investigators and was sentenced to two weeks at a minimum-security federal facility in rural central Wisconsin.

"Most of them support the president including most of the guards there and I guess the inmates saw me as a bit of a political celebrity…I was in there with doctors, lawyers and businessmen," he said.

He described a very friendly and familiar welcome inside.

"I had a couple of nicknames in there and you know funny things like Pappy and your Pappy, you're the man, you're Papadopoulos, you know 'can you help me with my jail sentence?' 'Can you talk to the president for me?' I mean there were some funny comments like that."

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Papadopoulos, who was once described by a fellow aide as a mere "coffee boy", served as one of the Trump campaign's foreign policy advisers.

He attracted FBI attention for his association with the Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who told him in 2016 that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

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But Papadopoulos is now considering withdrawing his guilty plea and his legal team have asked the Trump administration for a presidential pardon.

Image: George Papadopoulos was jailed for 14 days

In an interview with Fox News this week, the president did not rule it out.

"Many, many people were in­cred­ibly hurt by this whole scam," Mr Trump said.

"I don't want to talk about pardons now, but I can say it's so sad on so many levels."

I asked Papadopoulos why he thought he deserved one after admitting lying to investigators about communications with a foreign adversary.

"I never actually thought I deserved one…my lawyers are the ones who filed this pardon application because they believe that's in my legal interest as their client," he said, distancing himself somewhat from the direct request.

He hopes his new book Deep State Target will help the process though and he is wasting no time in criticising Robert Mueller.

Days after the special counsel handed over his report to Attorney General William Barr, Papadopoulos says he doesn't believe Mueller acted "honourably" and claims the "basis and foundation" of the Russia investigation was "corrupted".

The president and some in Congress, he maintains, share his view.

"When an investigation should have never started in the first place, as the president's own lawyer stated yesterday, then justice I don't think was served."

His own brush with the special counsel's team was an intimidating experience.

Former Trump Campaign aide George Papadopoulos arrives with his wife Simona Mangiante at district court
Image: Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos arrives with his wife Simona Mangiante at court

"Imagine this. You're 29 years old. You're enjoying a wonderful vacation in Europe with your then-girlfriend in Greece and Italy andRead More – Source

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