WASHINGTON, DC – George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, asked a federal judge on November 16 to stay his two-week sentence until an appeals court rules in a separate case challenging the constitutionality of special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment. The special counsel is is now urging U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss to deny the request, the Washington Post reported.
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to lying to federal agents about his interactions with Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign. He also forfeited most of his rights to contest his conviction.
But his new attorneys said the appellate case could constitute new evidence that could allow him to mount a challenge. The case was brought by a witness refusing to comply with a Mueller grand jury subpoena.
Four different federal judges have upheld Mueller’s appointment as proper and Papadopoulos is scheduled to report to prison on November 26.
According to the Post, “Mueller’s team responded that Papadopoulos waived his rights to appeal when he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and that he had failed to file his request in a timely fashion.”
More than a year has passed since Papadopoulos was first charged and “he has never challenged the constitutionality of the special counsel’s appointment,” the Post reported, adding that Papadopoulos’ “motion citing the D.C. case was made just days before the scheduled start to his brief prison stay.”
Earlier this month, “an appeals court in Washington heard oral arguments… in the constitutional challenge, which was made by a former aide to Trump adviser Roger Stone who is fighting a subpoena to appear before the grand jury,” the Post reported, adding that “it is not clear when the three-judge panel is likely to rule in the case, which may ultimately go to the Supreme Court.”
Mueller’s team noted that “Papadopoulos’ own public statements since he was sentenced suggested that his filing was solely an effort to delay his incarceration,” the Post reported, citing that “Chris LaVigne, an attorney for Papadopoulos who recently replaced the lawyers who represented him during the plea process, said in a statement that the special counsel’s motion had failed to address the central question of Papadopoulos’ request: ‘Why should Mr. Papadopoulos be required to begin serving his sentence now, when there is an appeal pending that could directly impact the validity of his prosecution and conviction?’”
Judge Moss had planned to sentence Papadopoulos to 30 days, but was “moved by his contrition,” the Post reported, to reduce the sentence to only two weeks. Papadopoulos’ statements during interviews, however, are not consistent with his appeal for mercy at the sentencing hearing in which he said he “understood his lies had been wrong and that he was remorseful,” the Post reported.
The report cited that Papadopoulos “told Fox News days later that he was considering withdrawing his plea and that he should not ‘have to serve even one day in jail for something that now it seems was completely orchestrated,’” and a November 9 tweet which said that “his biggest regret was pleading guilty.”
On November 21, the prosecutors wrote, “The defendant received what he bargained for, and holding him to it is not a hardship,” the Post reported, adding that “LaVigne called the special counsel’s inclusion of Papadopoulos’ public remarks ‘unrelated and wholly irrelevant’ to the legal motion.”