Lawyers for Michael Flynn and US government clash over his sentencing – The Guardian


Lawyers for former US national security adviser Michael Flynn accused the federal government of stalling their efforts to defend him, and said the former top aide to Donald Trump is not ready to be sentenced for lying about his discussions with a Russian ambassador.

Flynn’s lawyers lodged their objections to the government’s conduct in a joint status report filed on Friday with the Washington DC, federal court.

Lawyers for the government countered that Flynn is ready for sentencing, perhaps as soon as 21 October. Both sides agreed that Flynn’s cooperation with various government inquiries is finished.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations the prior December with Sergey Kislyak, who was Russia’s ambassador to the US, about US sanctions imposed on Moscow by Barack Obama.

That plea came in connection with the special counsel Robert Mueller’s since completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Flynn’s sentencing was originally scheduled for December 2018, and the US district judge Emmet Sullivan will need to decide whether a further delay is warranted.

In Friday’s status report, Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, said she has not had enough time to review the case, and accused the government of unfairly refusing to hand over information relevant to the defense.

She said this includes transcripts and recordings of phone calls supposedly underlying the charges against Flynn, and which the government has “steadfastly refused to produce”.

Lawyers for the US Department of Justice countered that the government has “exceeded” its disclosure obligations, and was unaware of any classified information that Flynn needed to review.

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The justice department proposed Flynn be sentenced between 21-23 October or between 1-15 November. Flynn’s lawyers asked for 90 days before issuing of another status report.

Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak occurred in the run-up to Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, after Flynn had worked on his election campaign.

In connection with his plea, Flynn had been expected to testify at a trial last month against former business partner Bijan Rafiekian, who had been accused of secretly lobbying for Turkey.

But prosecutors called off Flynn’s testimony on 9 July, saying they instead planned to portray the retired US army lieutenant general as Rafiekian’s co-conspirator. Rafiekian was convicted two weeks later.

Flynn lasted three weeks as Trump’s first national security adviser before he was fired in February 2017.



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