Chicagoan George Papadopoulos claims candidate Trump gave 'approval' nod to Putin meeting

CHICAGO (WLS) -- When George Papadopoulos stepped out of the shower at his mother's Northwest Side home on January 27, 2017 his life was about to change.

Two FBI agents were at the front door, expecting him to come clean about Russian and his role as a foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016.

During the extensive-but impromptu-questioning that followed at FBI's headquarters in Chicago, Papadopoulos lied according to his attorneys in a new court filing. They admit that the case "raised serious national security concerns" because it focused on planned, perceived or real links between the Trump campaign and top Russian officials.

Next Friday afternoon in Washington, when Papadopoulos stands before a judge for sentencing, he will admit lying to federal agents and claim he is "ashamed and remorseful" according to the defense filing known as a sentencing memorandum.

"His motives for lying to the FBI were wrongheaded indeed," states the court memo. "But far from the sinister spin the Government suggests."

From that position, Papadopoulos' lead Chicago attorney Thomas Breen said he will ask U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss for a sentence of probation and no jail time.

Federal prosecutors are already on record as requesting some time behind bars for the DePaul University and Niles West High School graduate. Authorities are asking for up to six months in prison for Papadopoulos, 31.

In the sentencing memo on behalf of Chicago's infamous campaign aide, then-candidate Donald Trump is said to have "nodded with approval" at Papadopoulos' suggestion that he set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Papadopoulos' attorneys claim that Trump was open to his suggestions about meeting with the foreign leader in March of 2016.

According to the paperwork filed just before a court deadline late Friday night, in 2016 Papadopoulos suggested to Trump's foreign policy advisers, including now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, that a pre-election Putin meeting was something he would engineer.

"While some in the room rebuffed George's offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it," Chicago defense lawyers wrote.

His lawyers argue in the 16-page defense memo that Papadopoulos was "eager to show his value to the campaign" and should receive leniency.

The motivation for Papadopoulos' later lies to federal agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller was to "save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master."

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last fall to lying about his communications with Russians and a London professor and agreed to cooperate with Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and potential collusion.

Although a point of dispute in political circles, Papadopoulos' information is considered the stepping off point of Mueller's case-especially the Chicago man's boasts about seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton.

As the ABC7 I-Team reported in June, Papadopoulos's newlywed wife Simona Mangiante was angling for her husband to scrap the plea deal and challenge federal charges. That potential plan fizzled however as legal realities set in.

So on Friday, when Papadopoulos appears in federal court, he will swear to come clean one last time, nearly two years after stepping out of that Chicago shower on a day that changed his life.
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