Flynn’s sen­tenc­ing de­layed as judge re­bukes him


A fed­eral judge Tues­day post­poned the sen­tenc­ing of Michael Flynn, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s first na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, after warn­ing Flynn that he could face prison for ly­ing to fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors about his con­ver­sa­tions with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion and hid­ing his role lob­by­ing for Tur­key.

At Flynn’s sen­tenc­ing hear- ing in U.S. District Court in Wash­ing­ton, Judge Em­met Sul­li­van called Flynn’s crimes “a very se­ri­ous of­fense” and said he was not hid­ing his “dis­gust” at what Flynn had done.

“All along you were an un­reg­is­tered agent of a for­eign coun­try while serv­ing as the na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser,” the judge told Flynn. “Ar­guably that un­der-

mines ev­ery­thing that this flag over here stands for. Ar­guably you sold your coun­try out.”

Later in the hear­ing, the judge cor­rected him­self, not­ing that Flynn’s work on be­half of Tur­key had ended in mid-Novem­ber 2016, be­fore Flynn be­came na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser. The judge ac­knowl­edged he had made a mis­take and said he felt “ter­ri­ble about that.”

But Sul­li­van gave Flynn the op­tion of de­lay­ing the sen­tenc­ing un­til he had com­pleted his co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors.

“I can­not as­sure that if you pro­ceed to­day you will not re­ceive a sen­tence of in­car­cer­a­tion,” Sul­li­van told Flynn.

After a short re­cess, Flynn re­turned to the court­room to take the judge up on his of­fer.

Flynn faces up to six months in prison, but fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors have rec­om­mended a le­nient sen­tence, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of pro­ba­tion, be­cause Flynn has pro­vided “sub­stan­tial help” with mul­ti­ple crim­i­nal in­quiries.

Dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, Sul­li­van ques­tioned Flynn and his lawyer about their ear­lier sug­ges­tion that FBI agents might have tricked Flynn by fail­ing to in­form him be­fore they in­ter­viewed him nearly two years ago that ly­ing to them would con­sti­tute a fed­eral crime.

Flynn told the court that he was not chal­leng­ing the cir­cum­stances of the in­ter­view and that he knew ly­ing to the FBI was a crime. In do­ing so, Flynn dis­tanced him­self from Trump’s ef­forts to sug­gest mis­con­duct by the FBI in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller.

Ear­lier, Trump had wished Flynn “good luck” in a Twit­ter post.

Flynn is the high­es­trank­ing aide to Trump to face sen­tenc­ing in the spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the Trump cam­paign. His case has marked an ex­tra­or­di­nary fall from grace for a re­tired three-star gen­eral who once headed one of the na­tion’s most im­por­tant mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions, the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency.

Pros­e­cu­tors have re­fused to dis­close pub­licly the de­tails of how Flynn, 59, helped them dur­ing 19 in­ter­views over the past year, redact­ing para­graph after para­graph of their sen­tenc­ing memo to the judge. His lawyer, Robert Kel­ner, said in court Tues­day that Flynn’s co­op­er­a­tion was “very largely com­plete” but that Flynn wanted to make sure he got full credit for fur­ther as­sis­tance to pros­e­cu­tors be­fore be­ing sen­tenced.

Sul­li­van made abun­dantly clear through­out the pro­ceed­ings that he viewed the crimes ad­mit­ted to by Flynn as ex­traor­di­nar­ily se­ri­ous and a be­trayal of the trust placed in him as a high­rank­ing White House of­fi­cial. At one point he even asked pros­e­cu­tors if Flynn might have com­mit­ted trea­son. (The prose­cu­tor in the case, Bran­don Van Grack, said no.)

The spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Trump ob­structed jus­tice, in­clud­ing by ask­ing James Comey, the FBI di­rec­tor at the time, to end the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Flynn in early 2017. It is un­clear whether Flynn knew about the pres­i­dent’s re­ported at­tempt to in­ter­vene on his be­half.

In ar­gu­ing for pro­ba­tion, Flynn’s lawyers had cited his lengthy mil­i­tary ser­vice, his co­op­er­a­tion with pros­e­cu­tors and his con­tri­tion.


This court­room sketch de­picts Michael Flynn, cen­ter left, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, stand­ing flanked by his lawyers, lis­ten­ing to U.S. District Judge Em­met Sul­li­van, right, as Sul­li­van ad­dresses Flynn and points to the Amer­i­can flag in­side the U.S. District Court in Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day.

Michael Flynn

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