Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office appears ready to send George Papadopoulos to his sentencing and may be done using his help in the Russia probe, according to a court filing Wednesday.
A filing by prosecutors from the special counsel’s office in DC District Court asks the judge overseeing Papadopoulos’ guilty plea to begin preparing for his sentencing.
Prosecutors had delayed pushing Papadopoulos’ court proceeding toward its conclusion twice since he pleaded guilty last October to lying to investigators. He faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Previous delays from prosecutors related to Papadopoulos’ sentencing and in Michael Flynn’s and Rick Gates’s cases largely have been read as signals that Mueller’s probe into possible Russian coordination with the Trump campaign continued.
Once Papadopoulos is sentenced, he could no longer be forced to help the Special Counsel’s Office in its ongoing investigations — or at trials.
Papadopoulos agreed when he pleaded guilty to cooperate with prosecutors and continue to provide information as needed. He also agreed “that the sentencing in this case may be delayed until your client’s efforts to cooperate have been completed, as determined by the government, so that the court will have the benefit of all relevant information before a sentence is imposed.”
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI, about his contact with three people who pressed him to help set up a meeting between Trump and Russian government officials during the campaign.
The Special Counsel’s Office says it will provide the court with a status report on Papadopoulos by June 22.
Trump campaign advisers have belittled Papadopoulos’ influence on the campaign, calling him a “coffee boy” — an assertion his now-wife Simona Mangiante said reduced his role significantly from its reality.
Court filings in October revealed that Papadopoulos had received word that the Russian government had damaging material about Hillary Clinton before hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee were leaked publicly.
A spokesperson for Mueller’s office declined to comment. Attorneys for Papadopoulos did not immediately respond to questions about the case Wednesday.
Updates due from the Special Counsel’s Office on Flynn’s and Gates’ status and sentencing have also been delayed several times since their guilty pleas. An update on Flynn is due at the end of June, and Gates’ deadline for an update is set for August.