In the weeks since a judge handed George Papadopoulos a fourteen-day plea deal prison sentence in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal (after Mueller asked for a month), Palmer Report and others have pointed out that Papadopoulos has gone – how can we say this – rather berserk on Twitter. He’s posted one conspiracy theory after another, and he seemed to be putting himself at risk of a longer prison sentence. It turns out Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been paying attention as well.
George Papadopoulos is now trying to dodge his fourteen-day prison sentence by asking the judge to delay it until after another court rules on a separate case challenging Robert Mueller’s prosecutorial authority. This is likely to go nowhere, but now Mueller is firing back with a new court filing, citing Papadopoulos’ hostile tweets, and asserting that they “appear to be inconsistent with his stated acceptance of responsibility at sentencing.” So what’s this all leading to?
Papadopoulos was able to land a two week prison sentence, instead of the recommended month long sentence, because he convinced the judge that he was remorseful, and that he accepted responsibility for his actions. Mueller now appears to be trying to convince the judge that Papadopoulos didn’t really mean it, and that Papadopoulos deserves a longer sentence. The kicker is that if this keeps going sideways, he could be looking at something much longer than the original month.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti put it this way: “The worst possible outcome for Papadopoulos would be for the judge to permit him to withdraw his guilty plea. If he did, he would be convicted and would receive a much longer sentence.” We’re inclined to agree. Robert Mueller asked for a one month prison sentence because Papadopoulos cut a plea deal and was partially cooperative. If Papadopoulos rips up his plea deal, he’d be looking at something a lot longer than a month.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report