Federal prosecutors push to sentence Michael Flynn — but his lawyers want to drag out the fight

Federal prosecutors push to sentence Michael Flynn — but his lawyers want to drag out the fight
Gage Skidmore

Although former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation ended in March, one of the Trump associates who has pleaded guilty has yet to be sentenced: Michael Flynn. He briefly served as national security adviser under President Donald Trump in 2017 and admitted to lying to the FBI about his communications with former Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Federal prosecutors, this week, pushed for an October or November sentencing, but Flynn’s current legal team is insisting that it needs more time.


In December 2018, Judge Emmet Sullivan was expected to sentence Flynn, and Flynn’s attorneys argued for leniency in light of the fact that Mueller considered him a cooperative witness. But Sullivan opted to put off sentencing Flynn — and on Friday, federal prosecutors, according to Politico, said in a court filing, “The defendant’s cooperation has ended. The case is ready for sentencing, and the government proposes the following dates for a sentencing hearing: October 21-23, 2019, or November 1-15, 2019. The government is not aware of any issues that require the court’s resolution prior to sentencing.”

But Sidney Powell, an attorney for Flynn, disagrees: Flynn’s legal team says it needs “a significant amount of time” to gather more evidence that could be favorable to Trump’s former national secretary adviser.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney describes Flynn’s relationship with federal prosecutors as an “abrupt shift,” noting that in the past, federal prosecutors welcomed his cooperation in not only the Russia investigation, but also, in the case against Flynn associate Bijan Kian (who was accused of unauthorized lobbying on behalf of Turkey’s government). According to Cheney, Flynn’s choice of Powell for his legal team is “notable because she’s been a high-profile critic of Mueller’s investigation and had been, just before joining Flynn’s team, sharply critical of Sullivan.”

Powell wrote, “There is much information that we do not have — and neither did prior counsel. Thus, the defense requests an additional 90 days before the next status report.” And Powell argued that her team needs security clearances in order to review evidence that Flynn “briefed and debriefed” the Defense Intelligence Agency on his foreign contacts and foreign travel.

In addition, Powell requested access to transcripts and recordings of Flynn’s phone conservations with Kislyak. Federal prosecutors, however, oppose that request, writing that the federal government “has exceeded its discovery and disclosure obligations in this matter.”

In U.S. law, the term “discovery” refers to the requirement that opposing attorneys in a case share evidence.

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