Academic in Trump probe hit with $56K fine, but where is he?


No one seems to be able to find Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic at the center of the Russia investigation rocking Washington, but his legal woes are piling up on both sides of the Atlantic.

On Tuesday, an Italian court ordered the missing 58-year-old to hand back more than 49,000 euros ($56,700) in overpayments from the University Consortium of the Province of Agrigento, a Sicilian institution of higher learning where he once served as president.

But the 27-page judgment gave few clues as to Mifsud's current whereabouts, which have been the subject of increasingly intense — and outlandish — speculation.

"Residence unknown," is what the judgment gives as Mifsud's address. It details fruitless attempts by Italian authorities to find Mifsud at an apartment in Rome, his former campus and in London.

Mifsud, a once-obscure Maltese academic who holds a doctorate in comparative education, shot to international prominence after he was identified as the mysterious professor who told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails" during an April 2016 meeting in London.

Declassified memos authored by U.S. lawmakers show that it was this meeting that eventually triggered the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. That probe was later taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller, who on Friday scored his first sentencing of a Trump campaign aide when Papadopoulos was ordered to spend 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud and others.

But while Papadopoulos and others have hit the media circuit to defend themselves in the court of public opinion, Mifsud has gone to ground.

Journalists have been unable to locate him. His former associates say they have no idea where he is. In a court filing in New York last week, the Democratic National Committee — which is suing Mifsud, among many others, over the theft of thousands of emails by Russian hackers in the heat of the 2016 election — said that the academic "is missing and may be deceased."

There was no hint of that in Tuesday's judgment, which was prepared in advance and handed down by the Court of Auditors in the Sicilian port city of Palermo. But if Mifsud had shown up in court, he might have saved himself some money: his two co-defendants got off on a technicality.

___

Frances D'Emilio contributed from Rome.

___

Online:

The ruling — https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4872549-Sentenza-Immordino-2.html


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Just Dunkin': Dunkin' Donuts to change its name
Just Dunkin': Dunkin' Donuts to change its name

Dunkin' is dropping the donuts - from its name, anyway. Donuts are still on the menu, but the company is renaming itself "Dunkin'" to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and other drinks. Besides, Dunkin' Donuts has already been on a first-name basis with its customers long before the tagline, "America Runs on Dunkin'." In...
Springfield spellers compete to raise money for literacy
Springfield spellers compete to raise money for literacy

Hearing the bell ring after misspelling a word can sting but it hurts less after remembering it was all for a good cause. The annual Altrusa International Club of Springfield Literacy Sting took place Tuesday afternoon at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Springfield. The adult spelling bee calls for Clark County businesses and organizations to...
Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison
Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison

A judge sentenced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in state prison Tuesday, five months after a jury found him guilty of drugging and molesting a onetime friend in 2004. Judge Steven O’Neil handed down the sentence after ruling earlier Tuesday that Cosby, 81, is a “sexually violent predator.” The designation...
Motorist shot in shoulder on U.S. 68 near Springfield-Beckley airport
Motorist shot in shoulder on U.S. 68 near Springfield-Beckley airport

U.S. 68 is blocked in both directions, with southbound traffic detoured at Blee Road after a motorist was shot in the shoulder. The shooting victim pulled over onto Airpark Drive around 5 p.m. after he was shot. He later was taken by ambulance to Greene Memorial Hospital. Investigators believe the gunshot came from a residence in the 6000 block of...
Weight Watchers rebrands as WW
Weight Watchers rebrands as WW

Weight Watchers is no more. The company, which offers various products for weight loss and maintenance, has rebranded as WW. Touting itself as “Weight Watchers reimagined,” the brand’s new tagline is “Wellness that Works.” >> Read more trending news  “The name WW reflects that we’re becoming...
More Stories