Federalist: What is Michael Flynn’s new “GREAT LAWYER, Sidney Powell” up to? And what might it mean for Flynn and those seeking the truth about Spygate? Here’s your legal primer for the five possible scenarios. For background on Flynn’s case and his switch to Powell, read this.
Let’s start with a quick review. On November 30, 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor, Flynn, with lying to FBI agents about conversations he had in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. The next day, Flynn pled guilty to the offense, pursuant to a plea agreement before federal judge Rudolph Contreras.
Less than a week later, for a still-unexplained reason, Flynn’s case was transferred to Judge Emmet Sullivan. Shortly after the case was transferred, Sullivan entered a standing order in the case 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 further ordered 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.”
After pleading guilty on December 1, 2017, Flynn continued to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia—a hoax, as we now know. After more than one year of cooperation, Flynn appeared before Sullivan on December 18, 2018, for sentencing.
‘You Sold Your Country Out’?
At that hearing, Judge Sullivan drilled Flynn’s attorneys on whether their client had truly accepted responsibility for his crime, noting that Flynn’s sentencing memo seemed to excuse Flynn’s conduct. Sullivan also quizzed Flynn on whether he wished to withdraw his guilty plea. Flynn held fast, though, telling the court he was pleading guilty because he was guilty. Flynn also declined Sullivan’s offer to appoint an independent attorney to review his file and provide a second opinion concerning Flynn’s guilty plea.
Following these exchanges, Sullivan proceeded to chastising Flynn. “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” Sullivan told the retired lieutenant general, with the long-time federal judge intimating that he may well sentence Flynn to incarceration—as opposed to zero jail time as recommended by the government.
In the midst of his diatribe, Sullivan incorrectly stated that Flynn had been working as a foreign agent while serving as Trump’s national security advisor, and suggested that Flynn may have even committed treason. “Arguably, you sold your country out,” Sullivan seethed.
Sullivan later backtracked on these comments, saying he had misspoken when stating that “Mr. Flynn [was] acting as a foreign agent while serving in the White House.” The judge also downplayed his questions about treason, saying “Don’t read too much into the questions I ask. But I’m not suggesting he committed treason. I just asked a legitimate question.”
Sullivan then asked Flynn whether he wanted to be sentenced at that time, or delay sentencing until after he had completed his cooperation with the government. Flynn wisely—given Sullivan’s tone and demeanor—opted to wait until he had finished assisting the government.
Then Flynn Got a New Attorney
That is where things stood for the last six months. Then, a little more than a week ago, in a surprise development, Flynn’s attorneys, Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, from the gilded D.C. firm of Covington and Burling, LLP, filed a motion to withdraw as Flynn’s attorneys of record. According to the motion, Flynn had notified them “that he is terminating Covington & Burling LLP as his counsel and has already retained new counsel for this matter.”
Judge Sullivan granted the motion, after temporarily denying the request on technical grounds. But it was not until late last week that the public learned Flynn had replaced his lawyers with former prosecutor turned defense attorney—and vocal critic of the special counsel investigation—Sidney Powell. more here