Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was in a D.C. federal courthouse Tuesday for the first time since his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller was announced last December, for a brief hearing ostensibly about a proposal to tweak the logistics around his yet unscheduled sentencing date.
The judge, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, admitted he also called the hearing, in part, because he hadn’t yet had any face-time with Flynn.
“There was a level of discomfort,” Sullivan said, with the idea of interacting with Flynn for the first time when he appeared in front of the judge in the future for sentencing.
The judge initially assigned to Flynn’s case, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, recused himself soon after Flynn entered his guilty plea, and the case was randomly reassigned to Sullivan.
Flynn, in a red tie and a dark suit, looked upbeat in the courtroom, telling Sullivan he was “doing OK.”
Outside, a spattering of protesters, both supportive and critical of Flynn, had shown up after far-right activists had called for flash mob to support him.
Mueller’s team and Flynn’s attorneys had previously filed court documents requesting that the judge order the pre-sentencing investigation of Flynn begin even while the special counsel was not ready yet to set a sentencing date. In joint court filings, Mueller and Flynn said that “due to the status of the special counsel’s investigation,” they were not ready to schedule his sentencing, but were requesting that work on the probation office’s pre-sentencing report begin so that they could later seek a more “expedited schedule” once Flynn was ready for sentencing.
On Tuesday, Flynn attorney Robert Kelner said that Flynn was eager to bring this “chapter” of his life to a close, and the government had offered this
“appealing” proposal so that he could proceed to sentencing as soon as possible.
Sullivan said that he was concerned that such a request was burden on the probation office, and argued that it would have to do the pre-sentencing investigation all over again once Flynn’s sentencing date was scheduled.
Instead, the judge offered to schedule Flynn’s sentencing date 60 days after the parties announce that they’re ready to proceed to sentencing, instead of the usual 90 days — assuming that doing so wasn’t a burden on the probation officers pulling together the pre-sentencing report.
Both Kelner and Mueller’s team — represented by Brandon Van Grack — said that they would “welcome” that proposal.
Flynn — who, before serving briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser, was a top adviser to Trump’s campaign — pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contact with a Russian official during the presidential transition. He was fired in February 2017 because, according to the administration, he also misled Vice President Mike Pence about those communications.
Flynn and Mueller are scheduled to file another status report on August 24.