George Papadopoulos was headed to prison and he was scared.
He had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was sent to two weeks hard time at a minimum security federal facility in rural central Wisconsin. The 31-year-old former Trump campaign aide, who was a focus of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe, was not a big deal, just some white-collar criminals caught up in financial crimes, "stuff like that , "He wrote his new book," Deep State Target. "
But, still, it was prison.
" All I knew about prison was what I'd seen in the movies ̵
But when he showed up at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wis., In late November, he almost immediately realized he had nothing to worry about.
In his count, Papadopoulos, arrived at the facility by car and dashed inside, trying to avoid camera crews and photographers looking for a per-walk visual. Inside, he got a warm welcome
"I'm not speaking for the Bureau of Prisons, but as a private citizen," he says one employee customs him. “I want to say that I think what happened to you was terrible. … We just want the situation to be as pleasant as possible and that no one bothers you. If you need any help, please contact us. ”
This was no Shawshank, no Green Mile, he thought
" Then I realized, "he wrote. "I'm in Trump Country – I'm going to be okay." Papadopoulos, a fellow aide once dismissed as a more "coffee boy," served as one of the Trump campaigns foreign policy advisers. He attracted the FBI attention for his association with the Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who told him in 2016 that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, court papers.
Papadopoulos then relayed this to an Australian diplomat in a London bar, which helped kick The FBI's counterintelligence investigation into President Trump's campaign
He finished his sentence in December and started claiming that he was "set up" by Western intelligence officials who were opposed to Trump. Even the cover of his book, which sports a large crosshairs near his head, seems to be underline his assertion: He was targeted
It's this fighting spirit, he said, that ended up with both the guards and the inmates of FCI Oxford
In an interview with MSNBC's Ari Melber this week, Papadopoulos claimed his association with Trump and his rabble regarding the charges leveled against him gave him street cred at the prison.
"Uh, let's say I had some street cred, ”he said. "They considered me as that, as a fighter, and that counts for street cred when you get into a place like that."
In his book, Papadopoulos said the guards were especially friendly. This is Camp Cupcake. ”
" Somebody let out a whoop, "he said. people were looking in my direction, ”he wrote.“ The guys started clapping – the prisoners and the guards – and rising to their feet. They gave me a standing ovation.… They knew I'd gotten a raw deal. ” A spokeswoman for the prison did not answer questions about the veracity of Papadopoulos' account. His lawyers have requested a presidential pardon, and if granted, Papadopoulos said, it would be an honor to accept.
Asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity whether he was considering a pardon for Papadopoulos or forms ational security adviser Michael Flynn, President Trump did not rule it out.
"Many, many people were hurt, incredibly hurt by this whole scam. . . ”Trump said. "I don't want to talk about pardons now, but I can say it's so sad on so many levels."
Papadopoulos has said that there is a lot of "disinformation" and "misunderstanding" about him, and he just wants to move on.
Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report
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