Not That George Papadopoulos

What happens when the internet thinks you’ve been indicted

A screenshot of a tweet from George Papadopoulos that says, "I am NOT that guy!"

Yesterday morning, George Papadopoulos emerged from a blithe food coma in his elderly mother’s town of Larissa in Greece—she had made orzo with red sauce and beef, George Papadopoulos’s favorite dish—to find that the world had discovered him and all the Georges Papadopouloses of his ancestral hamlet.

He was not happy.

Because this George Papadopoulos was not that George Papadopoulos. A former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump whose sealed plea deal went public on Monday, the other George Papadopoulos admitted to lying to federal investigators who were looking into his rather extensive contacts with a cast of characters that reads like a Russian-themed version of Clue: “the Professor,” “Female Russian National,” and “M.F.A. Contact.”

This George Papadopoulos, a fee-only, certified financial planner based in Novi, Michigan, was at pains to explain that he was not the indicted Papadopoulos.

It didn’t work, nor did George Papadopoulos’s first line of defense, which was claiming that his mother’s culinary talents were making it difficult for him to maneuver.

George Papadopoulos’s favorite dish: orzo with red sauce and beef (Courtesy of George Papadopoulos)

Nor did it come as a surprise, exactly. This George Papadopoulos had been expecting, dreading this moment. “The indicted George Papadopoulos was in the news sometime ago,” the Michigan George Papadopoulos wrote in an email to The Atlantic. “I always wondered if he would resurface. Oh boy, he sure did! At first I started being attacked aggressively. It is not very encouraging when you are told you are going to jail, you know.”

The Michigan George Papadopoulos’s wife had been tasked with fielding his calls and emails while he was off in Larissa dealing with his elderly mother’s affairs, but soon, Mrs. Papadopoulos could no longer hold the line.

“It has been a deluge of emails, tweets, media requests, and messages,” Michigan George Papadopoulos wrote. “I am trying to get to most of them but is not easy. I did not ask for this, I just wanted a quiet Monday. It has been anything but.”

Tuesday brought no calm either.

In his email, the Michigan Papadopoulos confessed that he was “trying to make the best of it and have some fun along the way.” For instance, the situation has given him an idea for a handy mnemonic aid for some sound financial advice:

But the attention has brought mixed feelings. What if this happened, for instance?

But what small-town financial planner wouldn’t want this kind of attention? But what small-town financial planner would want this kind of attention?

“I gained 2,000 Twitter followers and I hope they stick around,” the Michigan Papadopoulos wrote to me on Monday night. “Everything moves so fast in social media. I am also not too fond of having my name associated with the words ‘indicted’ and ‘plead guilty.’”

On Twitter, he made a different appeal.