The Justice Department blasted former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in a court filing Tuesday for his “extraordinary reversal” in which he is now claiming he was innocent of the charges to which he had pleaded guilty.
Tensions have been steadily escalating between prosecutors and Flynn since he replaced the lawyers who negotiated his plea deal with an attorney who has publicly criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
They are now in a full-blown war over claims of prosecutorial misconduct Flynn has made as he’s sought broad swaths of evidence — much of it referring to debunked conspiracy theories — he says the government improperly withheld in his case.
The hints by his attorney Sidney Powell that these allegations were part of a long game to get his prosecution thrown out were made explicit in a court filing Friday, in which she said the FBI had plotted “to set up an innocent man and create a crime.”
“When the government transgresses these boundaries—as it has here—the Court must dismiss the case and free the defendant to reconstitute his life,” Flynn’s filing said.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department called Flynn out for seeking a dismissal in a filing ostensibly tied to the discovery dispute.
“Each new argument or claim is unsupported by fact or law,” prosecutors said. They added that Flynn “has potentially placed this Court in the position of reviewing novel assertions and arguments that the defendant claims are essential to his cause without the benefit of the government’s factual responses and legal analysis.”
After the Flynn filing, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Monday abruptly cancelled a hearing in the discovery dispute, which was scheduled for Nov. 5.
His order said it was being cancelled in “view of the parties’ comprehensive briefing concerning” the discovery dispute.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, suggested Tuesday that Sullivan may have cancelled the hearing in order to require that Flynn make his request to throw out the case in a more formal fashion, so that prosecutors can respond to the allegations fully.
For now prosecutors are asking Sullivan for guidance on how they can more comprehensively respond to Flynn’s claims. They offered to file what’s known as a “surreply,” which they say they can have ready in 48 hours. Later Tuesday, Sullivan asked for the surreply, to be filed by noon on Friday, and he ordered Flynn to respond to it by Nov. 4.
In a separate filing Tuesday, the Justice Department also responded to Flynn’s claims that the government has in its possession phones previously used by a mysterious professor who was linked to the case of George Papadopoulos, the former Trump advisor who pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Flynn is demanding that evidence from the phones be produced to him.
The professor, Joseph Mifsud, is central to sensational claims that the 2016 election meddling investigation was an entrapment scheme launched by an anti-Trump deep state. (In plea docs, Papadopoulos admitted to lying to the FBI about conversations with Mifsud.
Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Mifsud has no relevancy to Flynn’s case, where he’s admitted to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak, and therefore the government was not obligated to turn over evidence about him.
“As the government has previously stated, its responses are not intended to, and should not be read to, indicate that the requested information exists within the government’s holdings,” prosecutors said, while offering to answer any additional questions from the court ex parte — meaning privately and out of Flynn’s view.
Read both filings below: