Judge sets terms for Mike Flynn to withdraw guilty plea

by WorldTribune Staff, February 21, 2018

A judge’s revised standing order in the case against Mike Flynn may lead to the former national security adviser withdrawing his guilty plea and reveal additional corruption by the feds, a columnist said.

Judge Emmet Sullivan on Feb. 16 set forth his position that, “if material exculpatory evidence is withheld during plea negotiations, a defendant is entitled to withdraw his guilty plea,” lawyer Margot Cleveland noted in a Feb. 19 column for The Federalist.

The judge’s revised order is ‘significant because it indicates that, if the government did not provide (Mike) Flynn material evidence during plea negotiations, Flynn has grounds to withdraw his plea.’ / AP

“No one knows yet what the evidence will show. However, there are enough shady characters involved to believe there will be something of significance,” Cleveland wrote.

Sullivan had previously directed special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence” in the case.

On Nov. 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged Flynn with lying to the FBI. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later, Flynn’s case was reassigned to Sullivan.

Cleveland noted that “One of Sullivan’s first orders of business was to enter a standing order, on December 12, 2017, directing ‘the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner – including during plea negotiations – any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.’ Sullivan’s standing order further directed the government, if it ‘has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material,’ to ‘submit such information to the Court for in camera review.’ ”

Related: New judge in Flynn case has record of punishing DOJ overreach, Feb. 18, 2018

In his plea agreement, Flynn had agreed to “forgo the right to any further discovery or disclosures of information not already provided at the time of the entry of Flynn’s guilty plea.”

Flynn’s attorneys, Cleveland noted, have now “presented the court an agreed-upon protective order governing the use of the material – including sensitive material – the special counsel’s office provides Flynn. This indicates Mueller’s team will not fight Sullivan’s standing order based on the terms of Flynn’s plea agreement.”

Cleveland continued: “With a protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office.”

“Was other evidence withheld, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys in negotiating a plea? Again, there is reason to believe so, given the players involved and the facts already uncovered,” Cleveland wrote.

Mueller charged Flynn with lying to FBI agents on Jan. 24.

“While the charge did not identify the FBI agents involved, we know that Peter Strzok conducted the January interview that eventually led to the criminal case against Flynn,” Cleveland noted. “Strzok formed a part of Mueller’s team until he was removed following the discovery of hostile text messages concerning Trump, including a planned ‘insurance policy’ should Trump win the White House.”

The involvement of Obama holdover Sally Yates raises additional concerns, Cleveland said.

“While Strzok and Mueller initially indicated they believed Flynn had been truthful, Yates, while serving as acting attorney general, had directed Strzok to interview Flynn and had pushed for charges against Flynn under the Logan Act. Another member of Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann, is likewise suspect given his praise for Yates’ refusal to defend Trump’s travel ban. Weissmann remains a part of the special counsel’s team, notwithstanding calls for his ouster.”

Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and author of “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” writes that Flynn should withdraw his guilty plea and suggests that Sullivan, as “the country’s premier jurist experienced in the abuses of our Department of Justice, . . . is the best person to confront the egregious government misconduct that has led to and been perpetrated by the Mueller-Weissmann ‘investigation’ and to right the injustices that have arisen from it.”

Judge Sullivan’s revised order is “significant because it indicates that, if the government did not provide Flynn material evidence during plea negotiations, Flynn has grounds to withdraw his plea,” Cleveland noted.

“Flynn’s attorneys now know what to do should Mueller’s team disclose such evidence. After the spanking Sullivan gave the prosecutors in the Stevens case, Mueller is on notice as well.”

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