George Papadopoulos, a former adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign who later pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians, was one of 15 individuals to receive pardons from the president on Tuesday night.
Papadopoulos, a Chicago-native, served 12 days in prison after his guilty plea in connection to Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between the president’s campaign and Russia.
His wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos thanked the president for the pardon, saying that it was the “best Christmas present ever” in the social media post.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart President Trump for pardoning my husband,” she said. “I must confess I am crying right now. We were right since day one. The best Christmas present ever! Thank you.”
Trump pardoned Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser for the president in 2016 whose conversation unwittingly helped trigger the Russia investigation that shadowed Trump’s presidency for nearly two years.
By pardoning Papadopoulos, Trump once again took aim at special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, and is part of a broader effort by Trump to undo the results of the investigation that yielded criminal charges against a half-dozen associates.
“Today’s pardon helps correct the wrong that Mueller’s team inflicted on so many people,” the White House said in a statement announcing the commutations and pardons.
Papadopoulos was charged with one count of making false statements in connection with the Mueller probe. He pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents, and served 12 days in federal prison.
Since then, Papadopoulos’ wife has been an outspoken critic of the Mueller probe, saying that her husband was wrongfully charged and convicted in the case.
On Tuesday, she said that she was glad to have the matter behind them, saying that justice has been won in the case:
Papadopoulos has deep connections to the Chicago area, having been born in the city. He grew up in Lincolnwood and went to high school at Niles West, and also attended college at DePaul University.