Updated: Michael Flynn’s sentencing for lying to the FBI will be postponed after a federal judge suggested all sides wait until Flynn finishes cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn once led Trump supporters in chants of “Lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton.
Michael Flynn who have received solidarity from the President.
It was a very long day for the former attorney of the president.
The Mueller prosecutors in the Flynn case took his seat at the prosecution table at 10 minutes before the hearing.
Michael Flynn, in a gray suit, entered the court room gently with a straight face. Judge Sullivan commenced the hearing with a pronouncement.
“The case is in a very unique posture.”
The presiding judge asked series of questions to the person of interest.
Flynn said, “my sentencing memo notwithstanding, that I don’t want to challenge the circumstances of the interview with FBI”.
Lawyer Rob Kelner said he doesn’t believe Flynn’s rights were violated during the FBI interview.
Rob Kelner made a point in the sentencing. He said he has made the points in the sentencing memo that he did to distinguish Flynn from other Mueller cases in which defendants where informed that, it was illegal to lie to the FBI and were joined by lawyers but nonetheless lied he added.
Judge Sullivan in his ruling said Flynn’s offense is very serious, “it involves a high-ranking official of the government making false statements to the FBI on the grounds of the White House”
Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack said “it remains a possibility that Flynn will continue to cooperate for further investigation”
Sullivan asked Flynn if he wants to postpone sentencing.
He asked, do you want to postpone the sentencing till your cooperation is totally done. The Judge however warned Flynn that if he’s sentenced now it wouldn’t take into account any future cooperation he offers and the credit he would be entitled to for it.
Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack in his own submission said that “notwithstanding the insinuations in Flynn’s sentencing memo, he believes that Flynn has accepted responsibility”
Judge blasted former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn: “Arguably you sold your country out.” i can’t hide my disgust, my disdain for your criminal offense.
He earlier stated
“All along you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States,” Sullivan said at Tuesday’s hearing. “Arguably that undermines everything that flag over here stands for.”
After about an hour of back and forth with Flynn and his lawyers, as well as Mueller’s team, Sullivan called an abrupt recess to give Flynn and his lawyers more time to reconsider whether they wanted to proceed with the sentencing, indicating he was not always comfortable sentencing those who are still cooperating with authorities.
If Flynn, a purported model cooperator, is not given full credit for his cooperation despite having pleaded guilty early, one wonders how that might affect the incentives of other would-be cooperators to go “all in” on their own cooperation.
…At this point the court went on recess..
Shortly after few minutes of recess Flynn returned to the courtroom. He is sitting quietly in his chair between his lawyers with straight face.
Judge Sullivan returned at the bench. He corrected his initial statement.
He said, “I misspoke in suggesting Flynn was a foreign agent while in the White House, adding that he never meant to suggest that Flynn committed treason. Do not read too much into the question he added.
Flynn attorney Robert Kelner said they would accept Sullivan’s offer to postpone sentencing so they can “eek” out every drop of cooperation benefit. “We do not take it as a wink-wink, nod-nod,” Kelner said.
“I’m not promising anything,” Sullivan replied.
Kelner noted that Flynn had purposefully remained silent about discussing the Mueller investigation and attempted to draw a contrast with other unnamed people pulled into the probe who have spoken with reporters and lashed out at the Russia probe.
Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack, who initially made an objection on the treason question, said that he is confident that Flynn did not commit treason and it is not an issue.
“General Flynn has held nothing back, nothing,” Kelner said. “In his extensive cooperation with the special counsel’s office he’s answered every question he’s been asked.”
The Flynn lawyer thanked Mueller’s team for highlighting his client’s cooperation in its sentencing memos and nudged the judge to take into account how it sent a “signal to every other potential cooperator and witness in this investigation.”
“That was consequential,” Kelner said.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 for lying to the FBI during a White House interview just days after the Trump inauguration. His crime: not being completely forthcoming regarding conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about the Obama administration’s sanctions over Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election.
On Monday night, Mueller’s team released a redacted FBI readout of its interview with Flynn where he lied, showing that the agents offered reminders to the national security adviser about the subjects he may have discussed with Kislyak, such as sanctions. Releasing the notes was the latest attempt to show the FBI agents acted properly during their sit-down with Flynn.
The Attorney for Michael Flynn requested for postponement in sentencing hearing to allow him to continue “cooperating”
Flynn pleaded guilty late last year to lying about the subject of conversations he had with high-ranking Russian officials after President Donald Trump won the election, but before he took office.
Flynn’s attorneys pleaded for no jail time for their client by noting his 33 years of military service, including combat duty for five years. He also spent two years atop the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, though that job ended in 2014 after he clashed with the CIA and senior Pentagon officials and shocked some of his colleagues with his increasingly strident views about Muslims.
Flynn signed onto Trump’s campaign as an adviser in February 2016 and later saw his stock soar as a potential running mate due to his national security credentials.
Although Trump instead picked then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican’s campaign continued to lean on Flynn and gave him a prime speaking slot during the RNC, where he led a memorable “lock her up chant” about Hillary Clinton.
Flynn’s rise under Trump didn’t come without red flags. President Barack Obama personally warned Trump two days after the 2016 election against hiring Flynn because of his erratic behavior. And Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who served briefly in that role after Trump’s inauguration, also raised concerns to the Trump White House about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador