Accusing federal prosecutors of “retaliation and vindictiveness,” former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s lawyers argued in a new sentencing memo Wednesday that he should serve no prison time for allegedly making false statements to the FBI.
Flynn is scheduled for sentencing next month, after riding a multi-year roller coaster since pleading guilty in Dec. 2017 to lying to the FBI. He was originally supposed to be sentenced in Dec. 2018, but delayed that sentencing date when a judge angrily pushed back on his attempts to play down his guilt in his 2018 sentencing memo.
Since then, his relationship with prosecutors — who originally did not seek prison time for Flynn due to his “substantial” cooperation — has grown hostile.
Flynn’s accusations against the government in the Wednesday court filing center around a dispute over testimony he was expected to provide in the summer 2019 trial of Bijan Rafiekian, a Flynn associate involved in Flynn’s Turkey lobbying.
Flynn has claimed that prosecutors pressured him to lie on the stand about his awareness that his registration forms for the lobbying work omitted key facts. The dispute arose after Flynn fired the team of lawyers who negotiated his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller and replaced them with a prominent Mueller critic. Prosecutors ultimately bailed on their plans to have him testify, and in an amended sentencing memo filed earlier this month, took a harsher tone than in their 2018 sentencing memo.
Flynn responded by withdrawing his plea in a scathing court filing that reiterated accusations of prosecutorial misconduct that he had made after hiring the new attorneys.
In the filing on Wednesday, Flynn’s lawyer Jesse Binnall accused the government of trying to “punish Mr. Flynn for pushing back against requests to give false evidence.”
He said the court should “applaud Mr. Flynn’s courage to stand firm against attempted coercion.”
“If other cooperators know that they will be rewarded for testifying truthfully, not testifying to please prosecutors, the search for justice will be enhanced. Conversely, attempts by prosecutors to use their extraordinary leverage in an attempt to change the facts to meet their theory, rather than the truth, should be overtly chastised,” Flynn said.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has so far rejected the conspiracy theories Flynn has pushed about prosecutors, which are related to the Russia probe as well as the prosecution of his business partner’s Turkey lobbying.
Read the filing below: