The Department of Justice recommended that the judge in the case against retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn issue a sentence of up to six months in prison, according to a sentencing memorandum (pdf) filed on Jan. 7.
The prosecutors opted for a harsher recommendation than one they proposed in December 2018, alleging that Flynn, a former national security adviser, has since failed to accept responsibility and at times sought to impede the government’s efforts in other cases, specifically the prosecution of his former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian.
“Given the serious nature of the defendant’s offense, his apparent failure to accept responsibility, his failure to complete his cooperation in—and his affirmative efforts to undermine—the prosecution of Bijan Rafiekian, and the need to promote respect for the law and adequately deter such criminal conduct, the government recommends that the court sentence the defendant within the applicable Guidelines range of 0 to 6 months of incarceration,” the prosecutors wrote in a 33-page brief for the judge.
Judge Emmet Sullivan is scheduled to sentence Flynn on Jan. 28.
The Department of Justice recommended a tougher sentence after Flynn’s defense team turned the tables on the prosecution in late 2019 by accusing the government attorney of withholding exculpatory evidence and suggesting they be removed from the case. The judge rejected both requests in a ruling on Dec. 16, 2019.
On Dec. 18, 2018, the prosecutors had recommended a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines for Flynn, telling the court he had provided substantial cooperation to the government and accepted responsibility. The prosecutors have now withdrawn both requests, informing the court that Flynn’s actions since Dec. 18 “negate the benefits of much of the defendant’s earlier cooperation” and suggest he no longer accepts responsibility.
“Indeed, the government has reason to believe, through representations by the defendant’s counsel, that the defendant has retreated from his acceptance of responsibility in this case regarding his lies to the FBI,” the prosecutors wrote.
“For that reason, the government asks this Court to inquire of the defendant as to whether he maintains those apparent statements of innocence or whether he disavows them and fully accepts responsibility for his criminal conduct.”
The indictment of Flynn was the first filed by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 of lying to the FBI. The sentencing has been repeatedly delayed since, to allow Flynn to cooperate with authorities on other cases and to resolve the defense’s late-breaking request to disclose alleged exculpatory evidence.
Mueller closed the Russia investigation in 2019, finding no evidence to suggest that then-candidate Donald Trump or anyone on his campaign, including Flynn, colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
“The government seeks to punish General Flynn for refusing to lie for the prosecution in the Rafiekian case. Their position is outrageous and appalling,” Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.
Flynn made the false statements he was charged with during an interview with two FBI agents, Joe Pientka and Peter Strzok, on Jan. 24, 2017, two days after he was sworn in as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
Strzok is known for biased text messages he exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI attorney. Strzok and Page discussed stopping Trump from becoming president, mentioned an “insurance policy” in case Trump was elected, and mulled impeachment around the time they joined the Mueller team.
Petr Svab contributed to this report.