Flynn Sentencing Hearing Canceled Upon Request by Both Sides

By Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.
November 27, 2019 Updated: November 27, 2019

A federal judge has nixed a sentencing hearing for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to President Donald Trump.

District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan canceled the hearing on Nov. 27, together with the deadlines for both parties to submit their sentencing memos, a day after both the prosecution and the defense requested so.

In their joint motion, the parties agreed that the sentencing should wait until Sullivan decides on Flynn’s earlier request for the judge to compel prosecutors to hand over exculpatory information.

“Both parties share the Court’s goal to move this case along expeditiously,” the motion says (pdf). “The parties nonetheless believe that their sentencing submissions will be incomplete if they are filed prior to the Court’s issuance of its ruling on the Motion to Compel.”

The parties also noted that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to release in the next several weeks a report on his investigation into an FBI surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.

“The parties expect that the report of this investigation will examine topics related to several matters raised by the defendant,” the motion says.

It isn’t clear which matters specifically the parties expect to be addressed in the report.

Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, pleaded guilty on Nov. 30, 2017, to one count of lying to the FBI. He’s been expected to receive a light sentence, including no prison time, after extensively cooperating with the government on multiple investigations.

In June, he fired his lawyers and hired Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor, who has since accused the government of withholding exculpatory information or providing it late. She has also argued that the government had no proper reason to investigate Flynn in the first place.

In a Nov. 4 court filing (pdf), Powell said the prosecutors should first hand over a plethora of information that the defense has requested and then, partly based on that information, Flynn will ask the judge to dismiss the case.

The prosecutors say all relevant information has already been provided to the defense and that the FBI had a “sufficient and appropriate basis” for interviewing Flynn.

Sometime prior to the Flynn interview, the FBI opened an investigation on him, “based on his relationship with the Russian government,” according to the final report of former special counsel Robert Mueller (pdf), who in 2017 took over the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The investigation failed to establish that anybody from the Trump team colluded with the Russian meddling, the report stated.

Powell argued that the investigation of Flynn lacked a “legitimate basis” and that higher echelons of the FBI orchestrated an “ambush” interview that was intended “to set up Mr. Flynn on a criminal false statement charge from the get-go.”

She’s also pointed out that the report from the interview took unusually long to complete and was edited to add significant information that seemed nowhere to be found in the interviewing agents’ handwritten notes.

Powell has also alleged that the prosecutors deliberately delayed the release to the defense of text messages of one of the FBI agents, then-Deputy Associate Director Peter Strzok, which showed his strong animus against Trump.

Petr Svab
Petr Svab
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.