Last month, Judge Emmet Sullivan shocked me and many of my readers with a ruling that tore at the heart of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s defense. The ruling read, in part, “The court summarily disposes of Mr. Flynn’s arguments that the FBI conducted an ambush interview for the purpose of trapping him into making false statements and that the government pressured him to enter a guilty plea” because “the record proves otherwise.” This mystifying ruling also denied Flynn attorney Sidney Powell’s request for “Brady” (exculpatory) evidence that she says the prosecutors have long withheld from the defense.
Then, to make things worse, about a week ago the prosecution went back on its original plea agreement with Flynn, which had called for probation, and asked Judge Sullivan to sentence Flynn to up to six months in prison. I guess they thought they had a sympathetic judge, and after his last ruling, one can see why.
That was the final straw for the defense. In breaking news late Tuesday, Flynn’s legal team has finally made it official, filing a motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington DC to withdraw Flynn’s guilty plea, citing “the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement.” Powell argued that, in light of the prosecution’s reversal, “it would constitute ineffective assistance of counsel to fail to move to withdraw his plea now...” In other words, after what government prosecutors have done, she would be an incompetent attorney if she DIDN’T withdraw his plea.
It was back in 2017, during the Mueller special counsel investigation, that Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak concerning sanctions against Russia. As has been well established, Flynn did this not because he had actually tried to mislead investigators --- the investigators themselves reported that he had shown no signs of deception during the interrogation, and Flynn knew those conversations were recorded, anyway --- but because he was financially tapped out after selling his house to pay his lawyers, and also reportedly because FBI officials had threatened to investigate his son if he didn’t go along. It should also be noted that he entered into this agreement on the advice not of his current legal team but of his original attorneys, who were later fired. They probably thought that since prosecutors weren’t asking for a prison sentence at the time, it was the best their client could do.
Flynn’s ordeal is reflected in the wording of the brief. “It is beyond ironic and completely outrageous,” Powell wrote, “that the prosecutors have persecuted Mr. Flynn, virtually bankrupted him, and put his entire family through unimaginable stress for three years.” This is no exaggeration; it’s exactly what happened to the man.
As reported Tuesday in the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, prosecutors argued on Monday that their sentencing submission was appropriate. “There appears to be no dispute as to the applicable sentencing range or that a nonincarceratory sentence would be a reasonable sentence within that range,” they wrote.
But Flynn’s legal team is having none of it. “MICHAEL T. FLYNN IS INNOCENT,” they wrote. (Emphasis mine.) “Mr. Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation. He held nothing back. He endured massive, unnecessary, and frankly counterproductive demands on his time, his family, his scarce resources, and his life. The same cannot be said for the prosecution which has operated in bad faith from the inception of the ‘investigation’ and continues relentlessly throughout this specious prosecution.”
After keeping a low profile for the past several weeks, Sidney Powell appeared on Tuesday’s HANNITY show, along with investigative reporter Sara Carter and FOX News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, to talk about this welcome new development. Powell said prosecutors were trying to get her client to lie under oath in the case of his former business partner. Flynn didn’t want to do that, she said, and she, as his counsel, would never have let him do that. Powell said that after her team spent hours presenting evidence that Flynn had been telling the truth, “they doubled down” and tried to designate him a co-conspirator.
"It’s just been one atrocity after another,” she said. “And their recent sentencing memo is just full of lies and distortions...They breached the plea agreement when they tried to withdraw their motion to recommend...probation.”
It’s up to the judge whether or not to accept the withdrawal of the plea –- “It could go either way,” Powell said –- but Powell is convinced they meet all the criteria. And this is just the first part of the motion, based on the prosecution’s breach of the agreement," she said. “There are a lot of other reasons that we’ll brief as soon as we possibly can."
We’ve been following the Flynn case all this time, from just about every angle, and no matter how you look at it, it’s a travesty. But the media have created their own narrative. Recently, after offering an update on Flynn, I received letters from a few readers –- obviously with limited knowledge of the case –- who honestly thought he deserved to go to prison because he “lied.” Here’s what I wrote to them at the time, to try to give them the larger picture, especially the reasons why he was targeted and the circumstances surrounding his so-called “lying”…
It’s the people who set Flynn up who are known to have blatantly lied. It’s not a simple thing to withdraw a guilty plea once it’s been made, I know, but under these extraordinary circumstances, it certainly should be allowed. This incredibly influential leader who served his country for 33 years was victimized by the very bureaucracy he had hoped to reform in his new job as Trump’s national security adviser. He made the wrong enemies and, as far as they were concerned, he had to be punished. They abused their power, and they are the ones who deserve punishment.
Devin Nunes, in a Tuesday appearance on THE INGRAHAM ANGLE, offered more information that adds weight to Flynn’s legal argument. He said that they knew “from early on in 2017” that Michael Flynn had not lied to the FBI. Nunes put it in his Intel Committee report, but that didn’t come out till 2018, after Flynn had already pleaded guilty to lying. Nunes says that for some reason, this information was redacted from his committee’s report; they fought for a couple of months to get it un-redacted. He and others told officials at “the highest levels of the DOJ” that they had been briefed by the FBI that Flynn hadn’t lied. Now Nunes is saying that perhaps “some of us need to speak on his behalf.”
Finally, although the following piece from Margot Cleveland dates from almost TWO YEARS ago –- before Powell came on –- it’s a great “refresher” for understanding what Flynn’s plea reversal could mean. It also shows how different Judge Sullivan’s recent ruling on exculpatory evidence is from the tone he set when he first got the case. So curious. There’s much irony here, knowing what we know about what has happened since.