Simona Mangiante is the wife of George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about his connections with Russian officials. On September 7, he was sentenced to 14 days in jail for lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian intermediaries during the 2016 campaign.
Mangiante, an Italian, has said that her husband should drop the plea deal and — as she told the Daily Caller — sue the government; she says her husband hasn’t committed any crime.
Here’s what you need to know about Simona Mangiante:
1. She Put Out a Request on Twitter for a Pro Bono Lawyer to Help Her Husband
Mangiante is a very vocal defender of her husband and often takes to Twitter to talk about how proud she is of “George Papa.” On Wednesday, she put out a call for a defense lawyer to represent him, on a “pro bono” basis. It wasn’t quite clear why she and “George Papa” aren’t able to pay lawyer’s fees on their own.
Mangiante wrote, “Attorney wanted for George Papadopoulo, Pro Bono! Your biggest reward will be #History. Your name will go down on history.” The Daily Caller immediately contacted her to ask what the tweet was all about. She said that she believes Papadopoulos should drop the plea arrangement that he made back in September 2017. She also said that he should “sue the government.”
Mangiante has said that government agents entrapped her husband and that he did not commit any crime. She says he simply “misremembered” the details about when he met Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who supposedly shared some dirt on Hillary Clinton with the Trump campaign.
Mangiante tweeted Thursday that a number of lawyers have contacted her about representing Papdopoulos.
2. She Once Worked for Joseph Mifsud, Allegedly the Middleman Between Papadopoulos and Russian Officials
Mangiante, an Italian national, is an attorney who once worked for the European Parliament as a specialist in child abduction cases. In 2016, when he contract expired, she accepted a job working for a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. Mifsud hired her to work for the London Centre of International Law Practices.
But from the beginning, Mangiante said, in an interview with the Guardian, “It felt like something was weird” with the job. The office was cramped and messy, and she said Mifsud acted secretive, never quite answering her questions about the job or the Centre of International Law Practices. She quit in frustration after just three months in the job, mainly because, she said, she was never payed.
Meanwhile, she began dating Papadopoulos, who first contacted her when her saw her photo on her LinkedIn page. She insists that she never spoke about Mifsud to him, and that they didn’t even meet in person until after she had stopped working for Mifsud.
3. Mangiante and Papadopoulos Married a Few Months After His Plea Deal
Papadopoulos entered his guilty plea in October of 2017; that’s when he agreed to the plea deal which Mangiante is now asking him to reject.
Months after his plea arrangement, the couple got married, in what Mangiante called an “intimate” ceremony at City Hall in Chicago. Judge Marina Ammendola, a Cook County traffic judge, officiated. Just a few of the couple’s friends were on hand to celebrate with them afterwards.
Papadopoulos is not free to travel, so the couple said they were postponing their honeymoon until the Mueller investigation is over. They also said they’d like to have a second wedding in Italy, when Mangiante’s family can attend, but that too will have to wait until the Mueller investigation wraps up. They celebrated their wedding with a meal at Taxim, a local Greek restaurant.
4. She Once Played Brigitte Bardot in a Movie
Mangiante wears a lot of hats: she’s a model, an attorney, and sometimes an actress.
In 2018, she played the role of Brigitte Bardot, the iconic French actress, in a movie called Affairs on Capri. Affairs on Capri follows the lives and romantic twists and turns of a group of American and European expatriates living on Capri.
5. She Told the House Intelligence Committee that Her Husband Should be Pardoned
In July, Mangiante agreed to be interviewed by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. The hearing was closed, but afterwards Mangiante gave reporters a synopsis of what had been discussed.
She said that she had told the committee that her husband “has nothing to do with Russia.” She said that it was “beyond her knowledge” whether Trump officials had asked Papadopoulos to make contact with Russians. But she insisted that her husband hadn’t committed any crime.
Mangiante also made a big show of speaking Italian to reporters — in an effort, she said, to dispel rumors that she herself was a Russian spy. She said people sometimes mistake her accent for Russian.
“I have been accused of being Russian spy,” she said. “No, I’m not that interesting. I’m an Italian national 100 percent.”
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