Trump and his associates are still deep in the thick of the Russia investigation — and George Papadapoulos is just one man who didn’t get out of this one unscathed. The New York Daily News explains special counsel Robert Mueller arrested Papadapoulos for lying to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russia. Though some of Trump’s campaign officials refer to this advisor as nothing more than a “coffee boy,” the damage is done.
Investigation and possible prison time aside, Papadopoulos made a big move. He got married — but his relationship is shrouded in mystery and drama. Here’s what we know.
1. Papadopoulos and his wife first met on LinkedIn through a mysterious mutual connection
When Papadopoulos noticed he had a mutual connection with Simona Mangiante on LinkedIn, he was curious about her. Their connection was Joseph Mifsud, a former Maltese government official who told Papadopoulos he had dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016, The Guardian notes. As for how Mangiante knew Mifsud, she worked for him in 2016 at the London Centre of International Law Practice.
Mangiante described her job with Mifsud as a total letdown, so she quit. Soon after, she got a message from Papadopoulos online. He said he liked her picture — and the romance sparked from there.
Next: The unlikely couple fell in love quickly, despite the odd way they met.
2. They quickly fell in love and had a whirlwind romance
Mangiante left the Centre after about three months, The Washington Post reports. But that didn’t stop the budding romance between her and Papadopoulos. They finally met in person in Spring 2017 in New York after continuing their conversations on the internet. And after that, they spent the summer traveling through Europe, Greece, and Italy, where Mangiante is from. As Mangiante said, “We spent every second together.”
Next: Their romance was cut short when this happened in the airport.
3. Papadopoulos texted her minutes before his arrest
Such a romance couldn’t possibly be easy for Papadopoulos and Mangiante, of course. On July 27, 2017, when Papadopoulos landed at the Washington, D.C., airport, he texted the love of his life. And Business Insider reports just a few minutes later, the FBI arrested him right there.
As for Mangiante, she didn’t hear from him until five days after the arrest. She recalls the incident being “traumatic and unexpected,” as she “didn’t know what was going on.” She then flew out to the U.S. to go see him.
Next: When Mangiante came to the U.S., she was promptly served with this.
4. Mangiante was totally shocked when she was subpoenaed as a witness
Papadopoulos was interviewed by the FBI, where he gave several false accounts of his meetings with Mifsud, The Guardian notes. And once he finally pleaded guilty to lying about making contact with Russia-linked foreign nationals, Mangiante heard a ring at the door. She was at Papadopoulos’ family home in Chicago when she was served with a subpoena from Mueller.
The subpoena explained the situation and asked for her cooperation — but she explains she was still shocked and angry that this was happening. And during her interviews, the FBI even asked if she really loved Papadopoulos. She, of course, replied with a yes.
Next: Despite it all, their romance prevails — for now.
5. They married in Chicago, though that doesn’t change Papadopoulos’ fate
Papadopoulos might still be in serious trouble and could face jail time in the future — but that didn’t stop him from tying the knot after his 10-month engagement. The Chicago Tribune reports the couple got married in Chicago’s City Hall. Mangiante says the wedding was “very romantic, very intimate” with just them and a few friends in attendance.
Though they had their ceremony in Chicago, they’re planning something much bigger in Italy once Papadopoulos can leave the country. For now, however, this will have to do.
Next: And what about the couple’s honeymoon?
6. Mangiante wants a honeymoon, but right now, it’s too complicated
At this point, Papadopoulos could face up to five years in prison — and that could really put a damper on any potential honeymoon plans. But the couple are thinking positive. The Chicago Tribune notes Mangiante says considering a honeymoon “is complicated” at this point. “But we anticipate a big celebration with my family,” she adds.
Since the couple has traveled through Europe so frequently in the past, we imagine a vacation abroad would be in the works. It all depends on Papadopoulos’ sentencing, however.
Next: Mangiante isn’t ready to fade away quietly just yet.
7. She’s still speaking up for her husband and is one of his most vocal defenders
Papadopoulos still has a long way to go until his name is untarnished, but Mangiante is sticking by his side the whole way through. The Guardian reports Mangiante has since made TV appearances defending her husband. And though her parents are worried for her safety and involvement, she’s not going down without a fight.
Mangiante notes she feels particularly compelled to speak out since other senior Republicans who knew Papadopoulos played down his campaign role. “He was involved at the highest level. He wrote speeches for Trump,” Mangiante said. And now that he’s cooperating with the FBI, she considers her husband “quite brave,” despite the media backlash.
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