by WorldTribune Staff, January 30, 2020
Gen. Michael Flynn on Wednesday withdrew his guilty plea and called on the court to dismiss his case for “egregious government misconduct.”
Federal prosecutors now say they will offer Flynn probation when just days ago they demanded he serve time in prison. Flynn’s sentencing is currently set for Feb. 27.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that prosecutors backed away from their recommendation that the former national security adviser serve up to six months in prison, saying in a court filing Wednesday that probation remained a “reasonable sentence” that they would not oppose.
Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, announced the new developments in the case on her web site on Thursday.
In the filing submitted Wednesday, Flynn said “I am innocent of this crime, and I request to withdraw my guilty plea.”
Powell noted that the declaration was the first that Flynn himself has submitted in his case. Flynn denied lying to the FBI during a White House meeting which was set up by then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
“When FBI agents came to the White House on January 24, 2017, I did not lie to them. I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection at the time,” Flynn said.
“I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel.”
Flynn describes in the declaration that he ultimately pleaded guilty in his case after special counsel Robert Mueller’s team began a “sudden and intense” pressure campaign in November 2017 to force him to accept a plea deal.
Flynn said his attorneys at the time told him he could be facing up to 15 years in prison if he did not cooperate. He also said prosecutors were threatening to bring charges against his son, Michael Flynn Jr., on charges related to their work in 2016 for a Turkish businessman linked to the Turkish government.
Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contact with Russian officials, though the contact itself was not illegal or prohibited. Lying to the FBI is a crime even if the subject had committed no crime at the time of the FBI interview.
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson noted that “The basis for the request to withdraw Flynn’s guilty plea is his claim that the government reneged on the 2017 plea agreement. Prosecutors originally agreed not to ask that Flynn receive any prison time in exchange for his guilty plea and cooperation in a case against Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian in a case unrelated to ‘Russia collusion.’ ”
However, the government had recently changed its recommendation, and was asking that Flynn receive a prison sentence, Attkisson noted.
Powell said Flynn kept his end of the bargain, cooperating in the case against Kian. But a federal judge threw out convictions against Kian saying the government’s evidence against him was “insufficient.”
Powell argued that prosecutors were asking that Flynn get prison time in retaliation for him refusing to lie in the Kian case.
Flynn’s full court filings can be seen here