The tension between Michael Flynn and federal prosecutors showed no signs of easing on Thursday, as new counsel for Flynn claimed they uncovered potentially serious problems while reviewing the documents in the case.
Flynn’s lawyers made the claims in a filing to the federal judge overseeing Flynn’s sentencing. The attorneys told the judge that recently unsealed documents about Flynn’s cooperation in the trial of his former business associate should not impact Flynn’s sentencing.
Flynn’s attorneys did not specify what problems they had discovered in his D.C. plea agreement, but did pin the issue in part on the “more than a hundred hours” the Mueller witness had spent cooperating.
“We are not yet near a position to brief the Court on the significant issues we are uncovering, because we have spent virtually all of our time and effort cooperating,” the filing reads.
Flynn revamped his legal team in June, hiring a new lead attorney in a move that appeared to signal a more aggressive posture towards the Justice Department.
Then in a new development on Tuesday, court documents suggested that Flynn’s cooperation with federal prosecutors in the upcoming trial of his former associate Bijan Kian was in trouble, after prosecutors struck him from a list of witnesses in the trial and, instead, labelled him as a co-conspirator.
Federal prosecutors had said that Flynn’s recommended sentence in D.C. would depend, in part, on whether he testifies in the Kian trial.
Flynn’s attorneys on Thursday called that statement “obfuscatory,” saying that it sought “to amplify its leverage over Mr. Flynn in advance of any testimony he may give at trial.”
“Should the government’s case here fail, it will not be because of anything Mr. Flynn did or did not do,” the Thursday filing reads. “The fault will lie at the feet of the prosecutors themselves and choices made by former counsel in consultation with the FARA unit itself.”
In the filing, Flynn’s legal team goes on to suggest that the Justice Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit threatened Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group, with “unprecedented pressure.” The threat supposedly went to Flynn’s former attorney, Robert Kelner of Covington & Burling, with the government demanding that he register Flynn’s company as a foreign agent.
The documents unsealed last week suggest the government believes Flynn knew that his FARA filings were false at the time they were submitted. Yet on Thursday, Flynn’s lawyers argued that Flynn never said he was aware his filings were false.
“Neither he, nor the Statement of Offense, recited that he authorized the filing knowing or intending it to be false,” the filing reads. “He cannot acquiesce to the government’s demand for that testimony, because it is not true.
Flynn’s attorneys added in the filing that they are “fielding demands for production of documents and testimony from multiple Congressional committees despite huge productions Covington made to four committees back in March of this year.”
They also bemoaned the amount of information they have to process to take on the case, while teasing that they had found potentially serious problems in documents that they had reviewed.
“The time the Court is giving new counsel to begin to digest the massive file in this case is even more important than we initially realized,” attorneys for Flynn wrote. “While new counsel for Mr. Flynn has barely scratched the surface, counsel has identified crucial and troubling issues that should concern any court.”
Read the filing here: