Before she had officially notified the court that she was taking up Michael Flynn’s defense, Flynn attorney Sidney Powell wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr in June asking that he throw out Flynn’s prosecution.
The June 6 letter, which Powell sent without telling Flynn’s initial team of lawyers, asked Barr to remove the prosecutors — many of them members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team — who had been on Flynn’s case and to review their investigation into President Trump’s former national security advisor.
The letter — in calling for a re-examination for “possible corruption of our beloved government institutions” — asked Barr to take seven separate steps in total:
The Justice Department revealed the letter in a court filing Tuesday that batted down Powell’s allegations in an ongoing discovery dispute that the prosecutors were improperly withholding evidence helpful to Flynn.
“Since the beginning of their involvement, the defendant’s new counsel have sought to get the charges dropped, professed their client’s actual innocence, and perpetuated conspiracy theories, all while stating that the defendant does not intend to withdraw his guilty plea,” the prosecutors said.
Powell is requesting a court order demanding that the Justice Department hand over swaths of information ostensibly related to the origins of the Russia investigation. She is also requesting that the prosecutors be held in contempt.
Most of her document requests are at best irrelevant to Flynn’s case — in which he pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts — and often appeared to be fueled by conspiracy theories peddled by President Trump’s allies.
The Justice Department argued that many of the same discovery requests Powell is making now were floated in her nine-page plea to Barr that Flynn’s case be dropped.
“Despite recently professing to the Court that they still need ‘a significant amount of time’ to complete their review of information … defendant’s new counsel needed no time to request that the case be dismissed and the prosecutors removed,” the Tuesday filing said. “Defense counsel did not need to complete their review of the facts to make their request, because their request did not rely on facts.”
The Justice Department filing disclosed evidence that Republican Hill aides reached out to Flynn’s old attorney to feed him information about his case that, if brought up in court, could play well on Fox News. It also debunked claims about the DOJ officials linked to the Russia probe made by far-right media outlets and parroted back by the President and his supporters.
Powell’s current request, the prosecutors said, is “a fishing expedition in hopes of advancing conspiracy theories related to the U.S. government’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”
According to the filing, Robert Kelner, the Flynn lawyer who oversaw his plea and represented him until earlier this summer, was emailed in December 2018 by Barbara Ledeen, a GOP Senate Judiciary staffer. Ledeen’s message said she was writing on behalf Derek Harvey, a GOP staffer on the House Intelligence Committee.
Ledeen was previously called out in Mueller’s report for working with Flynn in 2016 to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. Harvey, meanwhile, is a Flynn ally who was ousted from the National Security Council by Flynn’s successor H.R. McMaster before joining the House Intelligence Committee.
Ledeen told Kelner that the judge should request the transcripts from the House committee interviews of former FBI Director James Comey and Peter Strzok, the agent who interviewed Flynn and who later came under fire for anti-Trump texts sent in 2016.
The transcripts would show that the FBI officials didn’t think Flynn had lied in that fateful interview, the message claimed, and, even if the judge didn’t request their release, then-House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) “wanted to get it out there on Fox tonight.”
Kelner, citing the plea agreement, forwarded the message to the prosecutors on Flynn’s case.
The Justice Department also suggested on Tuesday that Harvey had told Kelner that former FBI Director Andrew McCabe had said to other FBI officials that “First we f**k Flynn, then we f**k Trump.” Powell is now seeking discovery on that claim, despite the repeated denials from the Justice Department, which says it investigated the allegation twice and provided Flynn with reports from those investigations.
“Despite possessing all of this information, defense counsel has again resurrected the false allegations, now for a fourth time,” the Justice Department said Tuesday.
The filing calls out at length the Fox News Business appearances Powell has done hyping up her quest to get Flynn’s case dropped.
Powell and Flynn “are in search of a result, not the facts” the prosecutors said, pointing to her remarks of Fox News Business claiming that Flynn “should be completely exonerated.”
Read the filing below:
- Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
- Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism