Prosecutors want to jail retired general Michael Flynn for six months
WASHINGTON — Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with a Russian ambassador, should serve time in jail for his offense, prosecutors told a U.S. judge in Washington, D.C., withdrawing their previous recommendation for leniency.
Prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in a court filing on Tuesday that they believe Flynn should receive a sentence of up to six months. The government in 2018 had recommended only probation, based on his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, but changed its position as Flynn adopted a more confrontational approach.
Actions and comments by Flynn and his lawyer since his last sentencing hearing “negate the benefits of much of the defendant’s earlier cooperation,” prosecutors said, adding that they no longer believed he deserved credit for accepting responsibility for his actions.
“Indeed, the government has reason to believe, through representations by the defendant’s counsel, that the defendant has retreated from his acceptance of responsibility in this case regarding his lies to the FBI,” prosecutors said.
A former Army general, Flynn served just three weeks as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser before he was fired for lying about his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. at the time. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 and initially agreed to cooperate.
According to prosecutors, that cooperation broke down over the last year or so. Before Flynn’s December 2018 sentencing, his attorneys implied their client may have been tricked into pleading guilty by the agents who questioned him. Sullivan subsequently re-arraigned Flynn, who reiterated his guilt. The judge postponed his sentencing to allow him to continue cooperating with the government.
Flynn then hired a new lawyer, Sidney Powell, who is also a conservative commentator and vocal critic of the Mueller investigation. She suggested in a court filing that prosecutors were pushing Flynn to lie as a witness in an illegal lobbying case against a former business associate in Alexandria, Va. Prosecutors ultimately decided not to call Flynn as a witness in the case, which failed to produce a conviction.
Powell went on to accuse prosecutors of withholding evidence that would clear Flynn, including classified information and the original interview notes that led to the charges against him. Claiming prosecutorial misconduct, she asked the judge to throw out Flynn’s indictment.
Sullivan denied that request last month and rescheduled the former general’s sentencing for Jan. 28. A final defense sentencing memorandum is due on Jan. 22.
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