Michael Flynn will either wind up pardoned by the president or beaten to death by an enraged district court judge. These are the only two possible outcomes.
Last night the former national security advisor filed a motion to withdraw his 2-year-old guilty plea for making false statements to the FBI. Two weeks before his sentencing, after admitting his guilt multiple times in open court, Flynn now wants out of the deal.
The motion filed by Flynn’s emoji-loving lawyer Sidney Powell is only slightly less batsh*t than her tweets. Here’s a fun sample:
The prosecutors concocted the alleged “false statements” by their own misrepresentations, deceit, and omissions. It is beyond ironic and completely outrageous that the prosecutors have persecuted Mr. Flynn, virtually bankrupted him, and put his entire family through unimaginable stress for three years.
After filing, Powell hustled over to the Fox studios to detail “one atrocity after another” by the dreaded Deep State.
“They’ve been abusing their power for the last year in spades, Sean,” Powell told a sympathetic Sean Hannity. “The reason this all came to this is because they tried to get him to lie in the prosecution of United States vs. [Bijan] Rafiekian — his former business partner — and with new counsel standing by his side, of course, there was no way I was going to let him do that and he didn’t want to do that.”
Here on planet Earth, Flynn admitted in his December 1, 2017, plea to knowingly making “materially false statements and omissions” regarding “a project performed by him and his company, the Flynn Intel Group, Inc. (“FIG”), for the principal benefit of the Republic of Turkey.” But after hiring Powell, Flynn had a change of heart and decided that he hadn’t really known that the Turkish government was the real client, that it was all his former attorneys’ fault, and that he couldn’t possibly testify that he and his old partner Bijan Rafiekian had knowingly violated FARA.
Which royally pissed off the prosecutors and also blew up their case against Rafiekian. This was not the cooperation agreed to in the original plea agreement, much less the show of good faith demanded by U. S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in December 2018 when he strongly advised Flynn’s prior counsel to postpone sentencing if they wanted to keep their client out of the clink.
So in the government’s latest sentencing memo, it changed its recommendation from 0-6 months for being a very good boy to 0-6 months with extreme side eye. And considering Judge Sullivan’s previous queries as to why Flynn wasn’t charged with treason, it’s a safe bet that His Honor is not inclined toward a noncustodial sentence.
Hence the 24 pages of gobbledygook from Powell accusing the government of “abject bad faith in pure retaliation” because “with new, unconflicted counsel, Mr. Flynn refused to lie for the prosecution.” And if that doesn’t whet your appetite, she’s promised further briefing due to “significant developments in the last thirty days.” What she hasn’t done is assert her client’s innocence of the original charge. But perhaps it got buried under an avalanche of emojis.
Let’s see if Judge Sullivan accepts Flynn’s withdrawal of his plea, or instead lunges across the table to exact just vengeance for wasting two years of the court’s time and patience. We do live in interesting times.
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.
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