by WorldTribune Staff, November 1, 2019
Sidney Powell, the attorney for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, rose to prominence in part by exposing the “abuses” of prosecutor Andrew Weissmann in the Enron scandal. Weissmann was a lead prosecutor in the Mueller Russia collusion investigation.
“All of the cases Weissmann pushed to trial were reversed in whole or in part due to some form of his overreaching and abuses,” Powell told The Washington Times.
The Dallas defense attorney said she is applying the Enron lessons in her battle to clear Flynn.
“Just like with the Enron case, she is sure there are Justice files that show the retired general is a victim of overzealous G-men and prosecutors,” Rowan Scarborough noted in the Oct. 30 Washington Times report.
Powell, Scarborough wrote, “specializes in unearthing stashed evidence and prosecutorial misconduct.”
Powell, who wrote a book — Licensed To Lie — on Department of Justice corruption, is lauded by defenders of Flynn and President Donald Trump as she files motions in U.S. District Court depicting special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe as part of that corruption. Weissmann was Mueller’s top prosecutor in the Trump-Russia hoax.
“Sidney is a smart and tough lawyer who demands that the prosecution play by the rules,” Tom Kirkendall, a Houston attorney and veteran of the Enron wars, told the Washington Times.
Powell accuses the Obama DOJ and FBI of ambushing an unprepared Flynn. She says prosecutors withheld favorable evidence in his December 2017 guilty plea to lying to two FBI agents, one of whom is Peter Strzok, an anti-Trumper.
“She is putting the Trump-Russia saga on trial through court briefs that demand evidence on critical players such as Christopher Steele, the Hillary Clinton opposition research agent who went to the Kremlin to publish bogus charges against candidate Trump. She also wants a fuller picture of Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor who ingratiated himself to a Trump campaign adviser in London,” Scarborough wrote.
Flynn prosecutor Brandon L. Van Grack, a former Mueller team lawyer, has submitted replies denying all of this. He says no evidence that bears on Flynn’s guilty plea remains hidden, and he calls Powell’s writings “conspiracy theories.”
U.S. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan announced this week that he plans to make a ruling based on written filings.
In the Enron case, Powell eventually acquired long-hidden DOJ prosecution files that showed evidence had been withheld at trial from defense attorneys.
Powell filed ethics complaints against Weissmann. A New York regulatory lawyer rejected them though agreed that evidence was withheld in the Enron-related trial of Merrill Lynch executives.
Ms. Powell represented one of five Merrill Lynch traders who went to prison in the so-called Nigerian barge case, in which Enron sold a power-producing barge to Merrill Lynch supposedly to hide misdealings in 1999.
In 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed all fraud convictions in the case but left Ms. Powell’s client with a perjury conviction. The appellate judges said Mr. Weissmann’s theory of the illegality of the traders’ actions was flawed.
What defense attorneys didn’t know then was the existence of favorable witness statements that the Weissmann team never shared. Ms. Powell told The Times in 2017 that prosecutors even yellow-highlighted the favorable information they withheld.
“The summaries were false,” William Hodes, an authority on lawyer ethics, told The Times in 2017. “They said things that the witnesses did not say. They themselves yellow-highlighted what they left out of the summaries. It’s astonishing. We should have gotten a new trial.”
Hodes has joined the Flynn defense team.
Judge Sullivan has scheduled a December sentencing for Flynn. The prosecution is not recommending jail time.